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Fighting For Life

Ethiopia: Seven Days Update (Addis Ababa)
November 17, 1999

Addis Ababa - An international conference on AIDS in Ethiopia under the theme "Fighting for Life" was held in Addis Ababa last week and attracted widespread media attention.

The punishment for sin

According to Radio Ethiopia (November 6), the Patriarch of the Ethiopia Orthodox Church (EOC), His Holiness Abune Paulos, stated that HIV/AIDS can be successfully combated only by obeying the divine commandment which requires people not to commit adultery. The Patriarch made the remark during a public rally held at the Addis Ababa Stadium on November 6 as part of the campaign against HIV/AIDS. Abune Paulos said EOC strongly advocates one-to-one partnership, and urged people to stick to this teaching, which, he said, is essential for controlling the spread of AIDS. The patriarch also called on the public to show care towards HIV carriers and not alienate them. The rally was a curtain raiser for the First International Conference on AIDS.

Grappling with the crisis

The private thrice-weekly Monitor (November 9) reported that more than 700 local and foreign researches from around the world, including senior government officials and HIV positive persons, attended the conference held under the theme "Fighting for Life". Local and foreign researchers presented about 50 papers on HIV/AIDS at the four-day conference, the first of its kind to be held on Ethiopian soil. Creating awareness among the younger generation and bringing the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS on Ethiopia's all-round endeavors to the attention of the international community were some of the aims of the conference.

The conference was opened by President Negasso Gidada. VOA (November 8) informed its listeners that President Negasso said that the government of Ethiopia has adopted an AIDS policy, drawn up a national program to mobilize the public in the fight against the pandemic, and is forming a national council to oversee the implementation of the program. Scientists, teachers, students, medical professionals and guests invited from the regions attended the conference. Among the topics discussed were the state of AIDS in Ethiopia, its historical background and the conditions and period it was identified in Ethiopia.

According to ENA (November 8), Dr. Negasso said hospital beds are increasingly being occupied by AIDS patients in Ethiopia. A day later, it was heard over Radio Ethiopia (November 9) that protecting the rights of AIDS patients is vital in order to encourage them to come out in public and teach others about the disease. This was stated by Ato Wondwossen Demisse, lecturer at the Civil Service College, in a paper he presented at the conference. He said strategies devised to implement the national AIDS policy centered on the protection of the rights of those affected. At least one in 13 people in Ethiopia is believed to have been infected with HIV, and 3 million AIDS patients have been reported in the country.

Seven Days Update, a weekly summary of the Ethiopian press , is available by subscription from Waag Communications

Copyright (c) 1999 Ethiopia: Seven Days Update. Distributed via Africa News Online ( For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.

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