Health, including HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis
‘I was sick and you took care of me…’ (Matt 25:36)
‘Jesus called the twelve together … and sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.’ (Luke 9:1-2)
‘In the ministry of healing the Church has a role to play which has not always been clear in her teaching. It is right and fitting to pray for healing of the body, of the mind, of the emotions, of the memories; for healing too of relationships and of society. In prayer and in the sacraments, in the rites of laying on of hands and of anointing, the Church continues the Lord’s gracious work, banishing fear and division, bringing unity, wholeness and peace. Sometimes it is possible to co-operate with the medical profession in such work, but always the Church witnesses to the fact that true healing has a spiritual dimension which is far deeper than any merely physical cure. Earthly life is not intended to last for ever, and the Christian knows that death is not the end of everything, but only the prelude to a healing more perfect than any we can know in this life.’ (APB, p. 489)
‘Christ heals in many ways, especially through those who dedicate their lives to the service of the sick. … It is for us, trusting in God’s unfailing love, to make use of all available means by which we may be brought to that wholeness and holiness which is God’s will for us.’ (APB, p. 494)
The task team recognises that the Province already has Provincial and diocesan organisations and departments working in the field and coordinating interventions in the three areas (HIV and AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis). So it describes current plans, and indicates it aims further to fill the gaps and strengthen existing programmes.
In line with the current approach, an effective strategy on HIV, malaria, and TB should be based on the principle of ownership, allowing prevention, care, and mitigation to follow. The role of the diocesan and Provincial facilitators is to nurture and reveal the capacity of communities and churches. Through the current Isiseko Sokomeleza and Siyakha programmes of the Anglican AIDS and Healthcare Trust, the ACSA has developed the capacity of many diocesan HIV & AIDS coordinators and volunteers, and this needs continuous strengthening and nurturing.
The task team’s estimated total cost for these proposals is around R15,2 million.
HIV and AIDS
The task team proposes training for diocesan HIV & AIDS coordinating staff and volunteers in the principles of AIDS competence, to foster programme sustainability at all levels. It then identifies particular elements of this overall goal.
Orphans and vulnerable children
The goal here is to provide support at the local level for orphaned children and child-headed households through food security, psycho-social support, and education, and helping them to access ID documentation (in South Africa) and social grants.
The goal here is to reduce the number of new HIV infections, reduce the incidences of unsafe sex, increase abstinence and faithfulness, and reduce the number of (especially concurrent) sexual partners.
Support for people affected by HIV and those living with HIV
The goal here is to create circles of care across all dioceses and in parishes and communities. This includes counsellor training, church-based support groups, and home-based care.
The overall goal of this part of the programme is to reduce the number of individuals who get ill from malaria, to reduce the number of deaths due to malaria, especially in children under the age of five years, pregnant women, and the elderly, through training, teaching, and advocacy. It also includes the distribution of bed nets and promoting local production of mosquito repellents.
This part of the programme aims to help reduce TB-related deaths in communities across Southern Africa. This mainly focuses on raising awareness, training to reduce stigmatisation and discrimination, and offering support through churches and communities.
All three areas of health need to have advocacy as part of their programmes. This would aim at improving communication about them around the ACSA, empowering vulnerable people, raising health issues within the church and in the wider society, and lobbying the relevant authorities to do more to prevent mother-to-child transmission and to reduce poverty.