Since faith-based organizations (FBOs) provide an estimated 30 percent to 70 percent of health care in Africa, they should be used to help fight HIV/AIDS, according to a study of nongovernmental organizations reported by PlusNews. FBOs have established relationships and trust in their communities, according to the report, and they can quickly respond to situations, send messages and identify those most in need.
Training religious leaders is a crucial step in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic. “There is a need to make church leaders learn… that people are not in control of their morality, for example in conflict; they need to know why women and girls engage in survival sex,” she added. “This way, they will be able to address HIV in the different contexts.” How is a woman who gets HIV because she has been gang-raped immoral? Aketch noted that religious leaders should be trained in HIV counselling and in dealing with the youth, with whom they were sometimes out of touch.
The ODI study recommended that FBOs be mobilized to address stigma, harmful cultural practices (such as not taking meds to let God heal disease) and sexual violence and to help ensure the provision of HIV services to all members of the community.