Cardinal Ribat: Lack of funds to address HIV/AIDS sufferers

There is a lack of funds to address issues faced by the increasing number of people living with HIV.

Chairman of Christian Leaders Alliance on HIV/AIDS, His Eminence Cardinal Sir John Ribat said this before handing over the recommendations made at the two day summit for PNG Christian Leaders Alliance on HIV and AIDS.

He said upon giving the recommendations from the closed door discussion that advocacy is the paramount role of Christian leaders.  Cardinal Ribat said that through their pastoral care duties will advocate on outgoing, current and emerging issues that affecting individuals and families such as HIV and AIDS, Gender Based Violence, Stigma and discrimination, access to service and issues affecting key populations.

He said that it is recommended that heads of churches must take a more proactive role in educating and creating a learning environment for our people including the key populations.

“The key advocacy statement from this summit is ‘HIV is not a death sentence’.”

He adds that all heads of churches must from now on advocate with that message throughout their church networks.

“The government through the department of National Planning and Monitoring create a physical program for PNGCLA on HIV and AIDS so that heads of churches can be able to access government development funding through the existing MoU between the church and the government and call it the Church and State Partnership Program.

The summit expressed strong concerns regarding the number of people being infected with HIV and also stressing on the continuing sustainability of the existing services that requires a strong commitment for funding.

The summit also called for a renewed national strategy with full cooperation between the government and churches in order to meet the emerging demands on the nation for the care, support and treatment for people living with HIV.

Annette Kora