African Nations Must Help 11 Million AIDS Orphans, Religious Group Leader Says at AIDS in Africa Conference
African nations must assist the continent's 11 million AIDS orphans, or the children risk "being driven to the margins of society," All Africa Conference of Churches President Kwesi Dickson said on Wednesday in Nairobi, Kenya, at the opening session of a conference on AIDS in Africa sponsored by a consortium of religious groups, Agence France-Presse reports. "These children need education, feeding and nurturing ... otherwise the option will be the emergence of a large proportion of our society, who will have developed anti-social instincts because of their hard life," he said (Agence France-Presse, 5/7). Officials from the World Bank, World Health Organization, UNAIDS, UNICEF, the European Union, nongovernmental organizations and faith groups are attending the three-day conference, which is hosted by AACC and sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the World Conference on Religion and Peace and Caritas International, a Roman Catholic aid agency. Conference attendees will discuss how best to use money from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Agence France-Presse, 5/6). Dickson said that child-headed households were rare in Africa until the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. "Now another genocide -- a silent genocide which happens to be HIV/AIDS -- has caused child-headed households to be an increasing phenomenon in Africa," he said. Dickson said that efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in rural areas, where 70% of Africans reside, should be stepped up, and he encouraged religious organizations to continue to fight the stigma surrounding the disease (Agence France-Presse, 5/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.