23 Jun 2005

PNG's Dame Kidu urges church role in fight against HIV

2:20 pm on 23 June 2005

The role of the churches and families will be vital in containing HIV/Aids in Papua New Guinea.

That is the view of the Minister for Community Development, Dame Carol Kidu, who says despite moves by the government to put structures in place to counter the spread of the disease, it is not having the impact needed at the base.

Papua New Guinea has soaring levels of HIV infection, with estimates of around 50,000 sufferers in the country.

She says the government has established strategic links with all the main churches because they are the most relevant organisations at community level in PNG.

And Dame Carol says to reach people in the rural areas they need to connect with the family networks and structures.

"And I think we have to also link into what we call the house line or clan or wantok system and really try to get people to work this through their church networks and their family networks, because the family networks here are massive, and if we can really push the family networks to work this whole thing."