Catholic Church in South Africa Takes Over HIV Care

HIV church

Churches have become HIV clinics in South Africa thanks to exceptional partnership. Debbie DeVoe/CRS

This week, South Africa celebrated an important HIV milestone in Johannesburg. Due to excellent partnership and program execution, management of a very large U.S. grant supporting HIV care and treatment for more than 60,000 people is shifting from the international hands of the CRS-led AIDSRelief consortium into the local hands of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), St. Mary’s Hospital, and the Institute for Youth Development-South Africa.

“This event honors the commitment and success of the Catholic Church in caring for the world’s largest population of people with HIV. About 150 people attended, including officials from the Catholic Church, South African government, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control,” says CRS South Africa Country Representative Ruth Stark. “The program ended with most of us in tears when a 12-year-old orphan told the audience about his life and how the services he had received had supported him, emotionally as well as materially. He concluded by saying how happy he was to have had the opportunity to share his story, adding ‘I want to look you in the eye and thank you.’”

A new feature story and photo essay share more about the Church’s success and the first full transition to local partner management by a program funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Associated Press also covered the event, reprinted by the New York Times.

Reported by Debbie DeVoe, CRS’ regional information officer for eastern and southern Africa

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2 Responses to “Catholic Church in South Africa Takes Over HIV Care”

  1. Pia Varni Says:

    Great work!

    What other work will CRS continue to do in South Africa?

  2. Raki Says:

    As a member of the Catholic Church I am aware of the work the church has been involved in in bringing relief to disadvantaged communities. That they are now involved in this with partners from across the globe comes as no surprise. However, the need to continue with such work must be extended to broader communities by means of forming partners with locals as well. Local businesses must show more interest in serving the very people who spend their meager incomes at their stores and as a result of that make them very rich.

    Congradulations to the SA Bishops Conference, the CDC and the brave little lovable child.

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