Religious Organizations Urged to

Fight AIDS Together

 

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 14 (WIC) Religious leaders have reiterated the urgent need for religious

organizations to act concertedly in the fight against AIDS as single-handed efforts are not producing the

required results. In speeches they made while opening a workshop at Ghion Hotel today for devising

an integrated working approach for fighting AIDS, the religious leaders stressed that single-handed efforts

are not effectively coping with the challenge. Dr. Mekonnen Meshesha, Commissioner of EOC's

Development and Co-operation said EOC was prompted to mobilize religious organizations with the

realization that nobody else is in a better position than religious organizations for fighting AIDS. As over

90 per cent of the Ethiopian people are adherents of one religious faith or other, these organizations are

capable of reaching the populations easily, Dr. Mekonnen said. Dr. Mekonnen expressed his

appreciation for religious organizations in Uganda where the rate of the spread of AIDS has declined

from 28 to 10 per cent through the concerted efforts of these organizations.

 

Similarly, the Reverand Yadesa Daba of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus said the efforts

made by the various churches individually have failed to produce the expected results. Indicating that

churches officiating weddings in various countries have begun demanding blood test results, Reverend Yadesa

suggested that a position also needs to be taken in this country on this matter. Dr. Alemayehu Habte

Gebriel, member of the anti-AIDS committee of the Union of Evanglical Churches, noted that while many

African countries have succeeded in controlling AIDS spread, Ethiopia has not yet achieved the expected

results.

 

Various study papers especially focusing on the Ugandan experience of fighting AIDS were presented

during the workshop.

 

Workshop participants later formed a joint committee and directives have been issued for developing an

elaborate information system which would guide the activities of the committee, according to Dr. Ayele

Belachew, co-ordinator of the technical committee.

 

Organized by the EOC's Development and Christian Co-operation Commission, the workshop was also

attended by representatives of the Catholic Church, the Union of Ethiopian Evangelical Churches, the

Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council as well as the Ministries of Health and Labour and Social Affairs.