Lyn @SABCOHA Breakfast - Business/Faith-based Cooperation on HIV. 25/03/2010

 Together with about 50 representatives of business and faith based organisations Lyn answered the invitation from SABCOHA, which read

In light of Governments’ renewed commitment to combating the spread of HIV and treating those already infected, Business and Faith-based Organizations both have a role to play in extending and complementing the services offered by Government.

How do Business and Faith-based Organizations ensure collaboration in order to capitalize on each other’s strengths and areas of specialization to strengthen Government’s HIV programs? How can Business and Faith-based Organizations raise the response to another level in order to prevent further infections, improve access to treatment and help meet the targets of the National Strategic Plan?”

On the panel was Abdia Naidoo (Baha’i Health Agency), Pastor John Thomas (Living Hope), Gen Sec Eddie Makue (SACC), Paul Germond (ARHAP), Chief Rabbi Hendler. Brad Mears from SABCOHA chaired the session.

The highlights Tweets from the conference (remember these are limited to 140 characters!):

· Eddie Makue, SACC: The denial we have accused the Mbeki era of is also our problem in faith communities.  
· Eddie; What we do in South Africa if we have a problem is to create a commission!
· Eddie: We are part of an African population with a profound spirituality - we need to tap into this and strengthen this to respond to
· Abdia Naidoo, Bahia' Health Agency: We need to focus more on equality between sexes in responding to HIV.
· Paul Germond, ARHAP: what is the contribution of health in Africa - also in policy development?
· Paul: Focus on assets and then position religion as one part of the search for health and policy formation.
· Paul: As faith communities we have a limited, western and mechanical view of health. We don't understand the impact of our values on health.
· Paul: Role of religion in shaping youth sexual behaviour and healthy choices crucial. Youth view religious affiliation +- how to use this?
· John Thomas, Living Hope: Challenges of the cycle of sexual abuse makes preschool and primary school prevention programmes essential.
· John: In SA we have a dual burden of disease - HIV and substance abuse. At the moment we have a marriage of HIV and substance abuse.
· John: Faith communities are often the 'delivery sector'. We need to expand the public/private discussion to a public/private/nonprofit talk.
· John: Believe shapes values, values drive behaviour. Religious entities are crucial in shaping values and behaviour.
· Rabbi Hendler: Ever life saved is like thousands of lives saved.
· Brad Mears: Isn't there a way in which we can do business in a ethical way, in which we can overcome the dichotomy bet. faith and business?
· Rabbi Hendler: Move away from blame and accept our own moral responsibility
· The relationship between business and faith sector is difficult to manage on national and regional level, but much easier on local level.
· Brad Mears: :Large percentage of infection in context of marriage - how does faith com. handle this?
· Paul: we live in a highly sexualised world, and this sexualisation is driven by profit. Business need to examine their ethical motivation.
· Paul: Much of the commercial world mitigates against marriage and healthy family relationships.
· Brad: How is the faith based sector redressing the inequalities between men and women.
· Question to Religious Sector: Is there a prospect for a coherent religious sector strategy in support of the NSP?
· Participant: Workplace programmes that focus only on psychosocial aspects are less successful: Business should also consider spiritual needs.
· How does faith based organisations market themselves to business? Spirituality key part of wellness!
· There is a massive testing drive - what is faith communities doing to ensure that they can deal with needs of newly diagnosed?
· How do we deal with treatment adherence and faith healing? How prevalent is this in your experience?
· Paul: There are cultural worlds of health and multiple health seeking behaviours that may be in conflict and need to be negotiated.
· Exciting session - hope that the conversation will continue!

You can read the SABCOHA press release here.

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