UNITED METHODIST DEPARTEMENT OF FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS
OTHER PANDEMICS DISEASES AND SUPPORT TO DISABLES
“Transform the world to a better place to be, The Church is already playing it role. Are you playing yours as a Christian?”
The book of James is a general epistle, an apostolic letter. The key personalities of this book are James and persecuted Christians. James wrote this book to believers of all nations to encourage them to endure and live bold Christian lives. In chapter one (1) of his book, James teaches believers to test their faith and “prove yourself doers of the word” (1:22), this is all about practical Christian living that reflects a genuine faith that transforms lives. (James 1:27) “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after Orphans and Widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” James encourages believers to put their faith into action, and to be servants of Jesus Christ.
It is on this note that I am pleased to present to you the incredible work of a deep understanding of James’s book within the United Methodist Church Ivory Coast (UMC-IC). It’s amazing and very inspiring to see at what extend the UMC-CI got this scripture and put it into action through the creation of the United Methodist Department of fight against HIV/AIDS (DMLS) which I am about to present to you. This department act as an extended hand of the UMC-CI to fulfilled God’s recommendation of pure Christianity by supporting and assisting people in need, especially marginalized orphans and widows due to HIV/AIDS.
b. History of the DMLS
The infection rate of HIV/AIDS in Ivory Coast was estimated at 7, 1% in adults ages of 15 – 49 in 2001. Ivory Coast had a generalized HIV epidemic with the highest prevalence rate in the West Africa region. The prevalence rate appears to have remained relatively stable for the past decadence (EMU SIDA).
The United Methodist Department of fight against HIV/AIDS in Ivory Coast (DMLS) was created in 2004 by the current UMC-CI Bishop, (Bishop Benjamin BONI) with the support of the UMC-CI annual conference. In 1985 while being a Pasteur, Bishop B. BONI oversees department of health counsel at the UMC-CI hospital of DABOU where he worked for a long period alongside HIV/AIDS infected people.
Through that experience BISHOP B. BONI had noticed that the Church and Christians in particular were not set apart as far as HIV/AIDS was concerned. Therefore felt the need and call for the CHURCH to start taking actions about the matter; on one hand through raising strong awareness about HIV/AIDS and other pandemics diseases, and on the other hand provide support to infected people. The main targets of all these activities are Christian’s communities and its surroundings.
Generate and coordinate major activities of Fight against HIV/ AIDS and other pandemics diseases in the UMC-CI and it surroundings.
- Train and educate church leaders in the UMC-CI at all levels on HIV/AIDS and other pandemics diseases
- Mobilize and develop communication within the UMC-CI to fight against HIV/AIDS and other pandemics diseases
- Provide spiritual care services, psychological, moral and medical support to infected or affected persons by HIV/AIDS in general, particularly to Orphans and Vulnerable Children due to HIV/AIDS (O.V.C.)
- Make advocacy and mobilize resources to finance a member of its projects
- Support through prayers scientists to move forward in their research about fight against HIV/AIDS
As an UMC-CI department, the DMLS structure is under the coordination of the UMC-CI annual conference; oversees by the UMC-CI health counsel, with total participation of all districts in general and that of local churches in particular.
- Awareness raised and screening campaign around different places and villages in Ivory Coast
- Establishment of the National Methodist day of fight against HIV/AIDS (JNMLS) in Ivory Coast
- Establishment of the virgins clubs in all UMC-CI schools
- Religious leaders of different denominations have been trained in a workshop on raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and other pandemics; and initiate strategies on how to fight it
Training on PTMC (Preventing HIV Transmission from Mother to Children), Rapha Project with UMGAF/Global Health
- A number of successful projects initiated and coordinated by this department such as: (Esperance, Compassion, Epargne, etc.); with a total financial support from different partners such as: UMGAF,PUMLS, PNOEV, PEPFAR, Minister of Health Ivory coast, GBGM, ARSIP, FNLS, PNLS, etc.