NIGERIA: Cardinal Urges State to Fund Faith Based Health Care Providers

ABUJA JULY 21, 2017(CISA) – John Cardinal Onaiyekan of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, has called on the government to collaborate with the Church in taming infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS.

The Cardinal said that faith based organizations involved in provision of health care services should have access to public funds to enable them discharge their services effectively for the common good of the people.

“Whoever is ready to make good use of it should have access to it. In the absence of that, we are left with a situation that those who really have the heart to do the work do not have the resources and those whom the resources are given are not interested in the work,”  the Cardinal said July 18.

Cardinal Onaiyekan made the comments during international Faith Based Organizations Consultation Conference organized in Abuja by the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) in collaboration with United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS).

The Cardinal recalled how the collaboration between the State and religious bodies in the past yielded success in the health sector for the benefit of the government and the people.

“For a long time, there was a very good cooperation between the religious bodies’ in particular Christian missionary bodies. At the time the colonial administration were in control of the country,” he said.

He expressed concern that in recent times, faith based organizations are restricted to doing whatever they can do within the context of private practice, thus reducing the scope of their services to the detriment of the poor.

He denounced stigmatization of HIV/AIDs even in the Church saying victims also include children who have never participated in immoral behaviours.

The theme of the Regional Consultation Conference, which focused on Early Diagnosis and Treatment for HIV positive Children was, ‘Strengthening Engagement of Faith-based Organizations.’

About 150 delegates attended it from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR); the primary countries of focus; and other parts of the world.

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