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Old 19-03-2004, 04:23 PM
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StopAIDS family life center opens its doors

LEADER of the Opposition government of Papua New Guinea and former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta has urged the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to declare war against HIV/AIDS.
He said this war needs a general and urged the government to provide the leadership required to fight.

“This war we must win.”

Sir Mekere was speaking at the opening of the Anglicare Centre, the national headquarters of StopAIDS, an NGO group which seeks to build a service in HIV/AIDS education, counseling, testing and most importantly family and community support.

“Bringing AIDS under control … is a war.” (Quote from a speech by Nelson Mandela – freedom fighter and former President of South Africa).
“No war on the face of the earth is more destructive than the AIDS pandemic. I was a soldier. But I know of no enemy in war more insidious or vicious than AIDS. Will history record a fateful moment in our time, on our watch, when action came to late? (Quote from Colin Powell, US Secretary of State).

Sir Mekere went on to urge all other churches to join the Anglican Church, through Anglicare in the battle.

“No other organization in our country can match the influence of churches. Churches influence organizations in our country can match the influence of churches. Churches influence not just the educated, the wealthy or well placed; our churches influence almost everyone – the poor, the undedicated, the unemployed, women, children and youth as well as men, rural as well as urban people.

“If churches break the silence about HIV/AIDS, if churches respond to people living with HIV/AIDS with care and compassion, there will be victory in the battle.”

Sir Mekere said AIDS does no discriminate. It has the potential to affect every one of us.

We have to admit it, recognize it, talk about it, and fight it.

Anglicare Board member Fr Danny Bray Guka escorts Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare through the building.
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Old 19-03-2004, 04:33 PM
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Let’s urge leaders, political leaders, community leaders, business leaders, and church leaders, to recognize the horrendous social and economic effect of the virus. It could decimate our society. It could decimate our economy. Very soon it will be our number one development obstacle.

It is here. It will be with us for a very long time. Let’s stop its spread. Let’s stop new infections. Let us respect and look after our people living with HIV/AIDS, so that they face no discrimination and can lead healthy, productive, valued lives, he said.

Raising similar sentiments was John Davidson, Head of AusAID in PNG.
In his organisation’s efforts to contribute to control and spread of HIV/AIDS, AusAID has committed K120 million for over five years commencing in October 2000.
  • This year, the key elements of the project include;
    Strengthening the response in provinces with a high HIV prevalence or at greater risk of increasing prevalence;
  • Specific activities targeting vulnerable groups, including sex workers and youth;
  • Implementation of a pilot study on the use of anti-retroviral therapy (ART);
  • Implementation of activities with a range of government departments, the private sector and community groups; and
  • Improving access to resources through the activity grant scheme.
    Mr Davidson said the key issue for AusAID is the appropriate balance between prevention of HIV/AIDS and care and treatment for those infected.

“In our view, both are important and indeed access to appropriate care and support will help to prevent more infections.

“But the government of PNG needs to look carefully at the costs of providing treatment, especially ART, which once started, are a lifetime commitment”.

Anglicare StopAIDS was established in the country in 1999 from a crypt of St John’s cathedral with a workforce of two volunteers and no funding. Funding finally began pouring in in 2000.
The two tireless volunteers that planted the first seeds were Jeannette Southwell and Kay Nicol.

Anglican Bishop of Port Moresby Bishop Peter Fox accepts a floral lei from a member of the welcoming committee.
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Old 19-03-2004, 04:39 PM
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With the attitude “We can do that” the organization has trained and developed a team of committed, multi-skilled educators and counselors who work day and night and at weekends often in at risk settings.
At this moment, a team is conducting a two-week HIV/AIDS awareness peer education program in Hula village for 3,000 people.
People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) play a huge role in the group’s program, as workers, StopAIDS supports workplace policy and equal opportunity.

StopAIDS also offer in-house counselors who offer their services not only to HIV/AIDS affected and infected people, but to those who experience family violence.

In partnership with the National AIDS Council Secretariat, StopAIDS volunteers conduct counseling training nationally.
They also provide counseling and awareness to the STI clinic at the Port Moresby General Hospital and in the six urban clinics in NCD.
The drop-in element of this project will eventually offer life skill training to the PLWHA.

StopAIDS is actively involved with education in both formal and informal settings.
This year it has been the organization’s fourth year to conduct awareness in high schools, institutions and business houses.
Through AusAID construction site program, they have reached remote communities and service national clients.

They also assist in delivering factual information lectures to “at risk” out of school youth across the city in partnership with special youth projects.
StopAIDS sees peer education as a serious tool in the HIV/AIDS campaigns and are pleased to be considered part of the EU peer program. In encouraging program ownership, StopAIDS has placed 60 peers into 32 ethnic groups in the Six-Mile settlement. And in strengthening peer education in the informal youth sector, it has encouraged self-help and plans to facilitate income generating education activities.

Mrs Southwell in recognizing the efforts of all those people who been part of their campaign also joined in the call to urge politicians, church and community leaders to recognize this general epidemic, lead the way, speak and be active members of this national multi-sectoral approach.

In response to many of the speakers calls to entice the national governments support, the Prime Minister Michael Somare who severed the ribbons to officially open the building apologised for his lack of involvement and pledged K160, 000 to Anglicare StopAIDS to help make up the shortfall in the construction of the centre.
Sir Michael also challenged Papua New Guineans to work to gather with whatever little resources they have.

He thanked Australia for putting so much in terms of funding in various projects in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.
“We have people who come here to give us help, but what have we Papua New Guineans done to help ourselves,” he said.
Sir Michael also thanked the churches that have provided essential and substantial contribution to providing services to the people.

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Old 21-03-2004, 02:45 AM
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Congradulations to Anglicare and more so to Jeannette Southwell and Kay Nicol and their volunteers.
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