BY EDWIN MUSONI
Western churches have played a very minimal role in the fight against the HIV/Aids pandemic compared to their counterparts in developing countries, HIV activists have said.
A senior World Bank official attending the recently-concluded international HIV implementers’ conference in Kigali, said that churches in the developed world were less involved in the struggle against the pandemic.
“The response from churches in the west is so discouraging; few of them have tried to make a slight move in the fight against Aids,” David Wilson, a member of the WB’s Global Aids Monitoring and Evaluation Team, told reporters at Jali Club.
He said: “Today the role of African churches in the struggle against HIV/Aids is very [discouraging] and I think the African churches should be a case study for the rest of the world.” Wilson observed that it is normally tricky to force churches in the fight against Aids, but added that saving life should be the goal of every institution. “Every institution has its course but saving a life should be very important. African religions are currently doing better than anywhere else in the world.”
The director of Uganda Aids Commission Dr David Apuuli also observed that African churches had succeeded in HIV/Aids advocacy.
He however also said that not all African churches were supportive either. “African religious persons are not themselves fully on the right track; some of them are very conservative that they would not follow government’s policies.”
“But, at the end of it all, when leaders talk about saving lives and preventing masses from Aids, they all turn up; that is the only way Africa has succeeded,” he added. Apuuli also said that Christian NGOs in Africa and their faith-based partners in the developing world have played an important role in increasing Aids awareness and other intervention programmes. “I believe when we are talking of the fight against Aids, churches should be given prime consideration because they take a leading role in the communities and many of their followers are youths,” he added.