NAIROBI, 8 December 2009 (PlusNews) - UNAIDS has launched a new
framework for strategic partnerships with faith-based
organizations (FBOs), acknowledging the impact they can have in
delivering HIV programmes.
According to the UN World Health Organization, faith-based groups
provide between 30 and 70 percent of all healthcare in Africa.
UNAIDS new strategy aims to strengthen the capacity of FBOs to
implement HIV prevention, treatment and care, and to help them
Religious groups have often found themselves in conflict with
prevention campaigns that promote the use of condoms, but the
framework notes that "with education and dialogue, attitudes are
changing, and there is a new openness among other actors to
engage with FBOs".
According to Jane Machira, senior programme officer for HIV/AIDS
in East Africa for the NGO, Christian Aid, FBOs have a
particularly strong role to play in prevention among married
couples, who are responsible for most new infections in many
countries in the region.
"The new categories of people mostly affected by AIDS nowadays,
young married couples, are not yet part of any outreach
programmes; we have to let them be aware of HIV/AIDS," she said.