The Catholic Church and the provision of antiretroviral treatment

Sr Alison Munro, OP

Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Pretoria

March 2005

Summary

The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) embarked over the past eighteen months on an anti-retroviral programme in twenty two sites, in South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, three of the most seriously AIDS- affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa.  The odds were against the Church’s involvement in such a programme because of the high costs involved, the poor infrastructure, the lack of trained medical personnel, the inadequate medical expertise available within the Church, and the lack of pharmacies and laboratory services at local sites.  Commitment to the value and sanctity  of each human life, and to giving people hope in desperate circumstances when medical science has some partial solutions to offer, and an underlying faith commitment to the call of the gospel to continue the mission of Jesus underpin the gigantic task of attempting to bring treatment to some people.

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