Boston Globe Examines How HIV/AIDS Epidemic Affecting Finances, Services of Ethiopian Burial Societies
The Boston Globe on Friday examined how some traditional burial societies in Ethiopia are "under threat" of being shut down because of the increasing number of AIDS-related deaths in the country and how a Family Health International program is giving some societies a "new purpose" to care for the living. The societies -- known as idirs -- are financed by community members' montly contributions of between 50 cents and $1, but the large number of AIDS-related deaths leave the idirs "struggling to pay for all the funerals," the Globe reports. The FHI program -- which is running in 164 idirs in 14 cities and has received $2 million annually from USAID over the past two years -- provides funding for the societies to send volunteers into homes to feed, bathe and comfort people who are bedridden. According to Francesca Stuer, FHI country director in Ethiopia, HIV-positive patients account for about 85% of people served by the program, which the group said assisted more than 90,000 people in the last year. Stuer said USAID recently told her that funding for the program would not continue next year. Elissa Pruett -- a spokesperson for the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, which oversees the U.S. government's international HIV/AIDS activities -- said no final decisions have been made for any program (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 10/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.