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
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.