IOCC Extends A Healing
|Volume 12, No. 1
Hand to Africa
Katente, Uganda In this small village, about 50 miles from the capital city of Kampala, there is a school run by the Orthodox Church of Uganda where the children have to sleep four to a bed. They are AIDS orphans, the legacy of living in Africa’s “death capital” where the transmission rate peaked at 18% in the 1990s, but has now been significantly reduced to about 5%.
While AIDS remains the number one health problem in Uganda and other African nations, the continent is suffering from multiple health issues: malaria that disproportionately claims the lives of children; the breakdown of sanitation and clean water systems which leads to disease; the lack of maternal and early childhood care; and hospitals that chronically lack medical supplies and medicines. “Much of Africa’s healthcare crisis can be traced to the political and economic turmoil of central governments that have failed to deliver basic services,” says Godlove Ntaw, who specializes in African development programs for IOCC.
Since 2004, IOCC has been serving the health needs of Africans and strengthening the national Orthodox churches to support their communities. A total of $16.2 million has been invested in HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs, and for the delivery of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to hospitals and clinics.
In Zimbabwe, there was a complete breakdown in water and sanitation systems which led to a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3,300. IOCC responded by sending a shipment of medicines that is currently treating nearly 6,000 patients. Since 2006, IOCC has delivered a total of ten medical shipments worth $8.5 million. Thousands of adults and children benefitted from hospital supplies, wheelchairs and medicines.
IOCC’s flagship Africa initiative is in Ethiopia where its HIV/AIDS program has educated nearly 7 million Ethiopians since 2004 with prevention and awareness training. IOCC has built the capacity of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC) to educate people through Patriarchal rallies and Sunday School. In addition, more than 22,000 individuals living with AIDS and orphans have received food, clothing and start-up capital for small businesses.
“Because of AIDS, political turmoil and economic chaos, Africa is a place prone to be in permanent emergency relief mode,” says IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou. “But we want to help Africa by building the capacity of local partners – particularly the Orthodox Church – so that the continent will not always be in a cycle of dependency on foreign aid.”
In contrast to Ethiopia’s 40-million strong Orthodox Church, Cameroon’s Orthodox community is small, nevertheless, “In this predominantly Catholic country, the Orthodox are going to the remotest parts where no one is working with the poor,” says Ntaw who was in Cameroon recently on behalf of IOCC to meet with representatives of the Patriarchate of Alexandria. In 2008, IOCC delivered its first medical shipment to Cameroon with antibiotics for the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital in Youande.
|IOCC’s AFRICA PARTNERS|
Brother’s Brother Foundation (BBF)
Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC)
Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society
Luisa Guidotti Hospital
Medical Teams International (MTI)
Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria
UCP Wheels for Humanity