The National Monday, December 13, 2010
By JUNIOR UKAHA
THE Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELC-PNG) has launched its first ever HIV/AIDS strategic plan 2011-13.
In a small gathering to mark the launching, ELC-PNG Papua district president Bishop Qogi Zonggoreng said the church had remained silent on the issue for a long time and the launching of the plan was “a giant step forward” for Lutherans towards the fight against the AIDS epidemic.
“Today, however, marks our readiness and confidence to stand side by side and hand in hand with our friends to face the deadly epidemic,” he said.
The bishop said the strategic plan had seven key target areas that it aimed to address in the church and these included:
* Educating and empowering of Lutheran church leaders with information and knowledge about HIV/AIDS;
* Reducing the risk of HIV transmission through biblical education;
* Care and support for young Lutherans and church members;
* Promote and uphold basic human rights for young Lutherans and the church members;
* Empowering Lutheran women and the wider PNG women population about woman’s sexual and reproductive health rights;
* Managing the church’s responses to HIV and AIDS; and
* Monitoring and evaluating implementation progress of the strategic response plan.
The church’s strategic plan was launched through its newly created HIV/AIDS monitoring body, Lutheran AIDS Watch (LAW).
Former governor of Eastern Highlands and chairman of LAW, Peti Lafanama, said that the launching of the plan was not an easy task as it had taken them seven years to develop.
He reiterated Zonggoreng’s remarks, saying that the focus of LAW would be on the church and its members, paying particular attention to the vulnerable category such as women and youth issues.