Religious leaders urge for continued prioritization of HIV prevention

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Addis Ababa, 11 July 2014 (WIC) - Leaders of various religious institutions urged the government of Ethiopia to continue to prioritize HIV prevention by allocating enough resources.   

Speaking on the multi-leaders’ consultative meeting held here today on positioning AIDS in post 2015, Ethiopian Catholic Church General Secretary Abba Hagos Hayish said that HIV prevention should continue to be priority in post 2015 agenda of the country.   

Although the transmission of HIV/AIDS is globally decreasing, it still needs political commitment to end the diseases, Abba Hagos said.   

“Everyone should realize that HIV/AIDS is not a closed agenda, hence we extend our call to the concerned body to incorporate this agenda in the post 2015 frame work,”  said Abune Matias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.   

For his part President of Ethiopian Islamic Supreme Council Sheikh Kiyar Mohammed said that the government should focus on the elimination of AIDS by continuing to prioritize it in the post 2015 frame work.   

According to Dr. Abdissa Kurke, Disease Protection and Control Director with the Ministry of Health, the government is striving to prevent HIV/AIDS by working in collaboration with the concerned bodies, including religious leaders.

Dr. Abdissa appreciated the efforts exerted by religious leaders in the prevention of HIV/AIDS through raising awareness of the communities.

The religious leaders can play an important role in realizing the target to end HIV/AIDS related deaths, stigma and discrimination by 2030, Dr. Abdissa noted.
He said that the religious leaders should continue their efforts and affirmed that the government will continue working with them.   

UN AIDS Country Director in Ethiopia Warren Naamara said that the religious leaders have played an 'indispensable' role in preventing transmission of the virus.

They are vital to making a real difference, 'to move people forward from just talking to taking action.' he said.   

The Meeting was organized by the Ethiopian Interfaith Forum for Development Dialogue and Action (EIFDDA) and UNAIDS in collaboration with Christian AID, Norwegian Church Aid and Dan Church Aid. (ENA)