2009-10-28 15:41:00

Caritas AIDS adviser says faith-based groups need more recognition

(Oct.28,2009): Governments are bypassing faith-based organizations that do the bulk of the work with AIDS victims, while spending billions of dollars on AIDS relief, said Caritas Internationalis' special adviser to the United Nations on HIV and AIDS. U.S. Msgr. Robert Vitillo, in his address to local Caritas and health care workers in Perth, Australia said on Monday (Oct. 26), that governments need to recognize faith-based organizations that are not receiving the funding to carry out their essential work. He said that, while the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has committed 10 billion dollars to support programs for these diseases over the past two years, only 5 percent of those funds have gone to faith-based organizations. "Government agencies often bypass faith-based organizations even though they're doing the bulk of the work," he said. This is despite the fact that, in Africa, up to 70 percent of health care is delivered by faith-based organizations, he added. Caritas Internationalis has 165 member organizations working in 200 territories and countries, and Msgr. Vitillo said that, while sub-Saharan Africa is "still the epicenter of the AIDS pandemic," Caritas is also heavily involved in Asia and some parts of Oceania, especially Papua New Guinea, north of Australia. Msgr. Vitillo who heads the global Catholic HIV and AIDS network in Geneva, assists governments and the United Nations in policy development.
Msgr: Vitillo said that when Caritas made HIV and AIDS one of its top action priorities in 1987 it was among the first agencies to do so. Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the main source of financing for programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, with approved funding of US$15.6 billion for more than 572 programs in 140 countries.)

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