Helping to Guide the Way at the Intersection of Faith and Health

IMA World Health/Kara Eberle

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MA World Health recently participated in Building on Firm Foundations: The 2015 Consultation on Strengthening Partnerships Between Faith-Based Organizations and PEPFAR to Build Capacity for Sustained Responses to HIV/AIDS.

IMA was represented by Doris Mwarey, IMA staff seconded to Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP). She was among many participants who helped develop recommendations that will inform the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) leadership in ongoing efforts to build strong, sustained partnerships with faith-based organizations.

Each participant played an “essential role in drafting these recommendations,” John Blevins, Acting Director of Interfaith Health Program, Emory University, wrote in an email.

IMA’s history of HIV/AIDS response began by addressing HIV in 2004 with the launch of the PEPFAR-funded AIDSRelief Program in Tanzania. There, IMA partnered with Catholic Relief Services, the Ministry of Health and local NGOs to build capacity for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment in three dozen faith-based health facilities. IMA supported sites and training to improve and scale up Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT), HIV testing and counseling (HTC), antiretroviral therapy (ART), and care services.

Today, IMA continues that work in Tanzania and more broadly in Sub-Saharan Africa through direct HIV programming and by integrating HIV/AIDS interventions successfully into broader health care packages.

IMA also serves as partner on the USAID-funded global AIDSFree project. Under the leadership of JSI, IMA is helping scale-up evidenced-based HIV prevention, care, and treatment practices in high-burden HIV countries. IMA specifically helps build the capacity of faith-based networks to address HIV effectively.

“Now more than ever, strong collaboration is essential to sustaining the hard-won progress that has been made against HIV,” Blevins wrote in his email.

The Consultation will help chart a course that will sustain partnerships between PEPFAR and faith-based organizations now and in the future.

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AT A GLANCE
  • Within Sub-Saharan Africa, where IMA works on HIV/AIDS, only 37 percent of eligible clients receive HIV treatment.
  • The CDC-funded Local Partners Excel in Comprehensive HIV & AIDS Service Delivery (LEAD) Project provides HIV care to more than 83,000 patients and supports more than 50,000 clients on ART.
  • Leveraging work in Project LEAD, IMA trains health care workers in visual inspection with acetic acid screening and cryotherapy treatment, provides screening equipment and supplies, and increases community awareness on the importance of screening and early detection of cervical cancer. The CDC-funded project has screened more than 40,000 women for cervical cancer in Tanzania.
  • IMA ensures female survivors of sexual- and gender-based violence – which has reached epidemic proportions in Eastern Congo – access holistic prevention and support services.
  • IMA provides technical assistance to longtime non-governmental partner SANRU to help improve its HIV programming these capacity-building efforts support improved management and implementation of critical health programs nationally in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.