The OAIC Health and Well being program believes that good health is a prerequisite for much of what our communities and individuals can achieve. In order to build the ability of member churches and their communities to respond creatively, proactively and effectively to the challenges of ill health and HIV/AIDS, the program works with churches and communities to transform negative theologies and cultural understandings. The program also focuses on cultural, social and legal systems that hinder men, women and children from acting effectively to deal with the causes and impact of the pandemic.
OAIC Health and Well being brings together member churches and their communities to scale up their support for Persons Living with HIV and AIDS, to improve their livelihoods and to increase their access to treatment and effective, affordable care. The program also works to secure appropriate action and commitment to all children who are vulnerable to the impact of HIV and AIDS and other causes that might hinder their family life, education or well-being.
What We Do
Beginning in 1990 as an activity of the then Rural Development by Extension (RDE) Program, the OAIC focus on Health and Wellbeing consists of awareness and training workshops for church workers to educate their communities about the threat posed by HIV and AIDS. The program was officially established to enhance the responses within the OAIC, member churches and their communities. Experience at the grassroots has taught us that poverty, vulnerability, social exclusion and powerlessness work to create a powerful dynamic at the root of the spread of HIV and AIDS, which has been integrated into our work in HIV and AIDs. The success of this integration is apparent in our work on HIV and AIDs and in our current emphasis on Health and Wellbeing.
With Visions for A Better Word, Health and Wellbeing recognizes the need to embrace other pandemics, especially Tuberculosis and malaria, while continuing work on HIV and AIDs. Health and Wellbeing also builds on the OAIC’s learning that there are resources in our faith and culture that can be used to respond appropriately to HIV and AIDS, but that these resources are often held back because of negative judgments on people living with HIV and AIDS. The program also resituates our discourse and approach to health to include the social, cultural, economic and political determinants of health, as well as the connections between health outcomes and wellbeing.
Strategy and Initiatives
Our work in HIV and AIDS has been undergoing continuous transformation since 1990, as we have sought to upraise ourselves on the realities and new challenges posed by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. One of the core goals of the continuous transformation has been to develop and implement a response that is motivated by the faith of AIC members – a response that is rooted in the philosophies, visions and values of the AICs. As part of this process, we have sought to continually develop new ways of generating grassroots initiatives in holistic development and HIV/AIDS.
In our many years’ work in HIV and AIDS, we have also discovered that the impact of the pandemic is most felt at the level of the household. Therefore, we continue to target interventions through the congregations and community organizations that are closest to the household level.
OAIC’s Health Program aims to:
- Mobilize the leadership of OAIC member churches to respond to the HIV and AIDS challenge
- Develop holistic and compassionate theological and cultural understandings of HIV and AIDS
- Strengthen the ability of member churches to provide HIV and AIDS prevention services
- Strengthen the ability of congregations and CBOs to provide treatment, care and support services for those infected or affected by HIV and AIDS
- Strengthen the ability of member churches to participate in the prevention and treatment of malaria and TB
- Link with other agencies to advocate for access to health care for all