Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Former Mozambican First Lady Graca Machel has urged the Anglican Church to use its strengths to mobilise people in the war against HIV/AIDS.
She spoke Wednesday to delegates and partners at the All Africa Anglican AIDS Conference in Boksburg, South Africa.
The conference is an initiative to find an African solution to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
It has attracted international support and is being attended by 130 delegates representing 34 countries across Africa, as well as donor groups, organisations involved in HIV/AIDS work, government departments, other church groups and pharmaceutical companies.
Machel referred to the network of people and resources that the church has in place around the African continent.
"You have the moral authority to speak and influence change in peoples lives," she entreated, asking delegates to use the networks that already exist as a basis to inform communities about prevention, and fighting stigma.
Machel, now wife to Nelson Mandela, stressed the need to shift thinking to see past the horrendous HIV/AIDS statistics to real people.
"Every time you hear a figure or a number, you should imagine a face behind that number," she implored.
Machel called on the church to embrace the vision and commitment needed to make the HIV/AIDS pandemic into simply a disease.
"If each one of us commits to communicating a message of prevention to every young or vulnerable person that crosses our path, then we will begin to make a difference in fighting HIV/AIDS," she suggested.
Other speakers included Methodist Archbishop and head of the South African Council of Churches, Mvume Dandala, and the General-Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Reverend Conrad Raiser.