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A Faith-Based Response to HIV in Southern Africa: the Choose to Care Initiative

This study describes the work of the Choose to Care initiative of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa which began in 2000. It shows that effective scaling-up of programmes in the response to HIV does not necessarily have to be the expansion of a single central service. Working through the diocesan and parish system, coordinated by the AIDS Office Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and originally funded by the Catholic Mission Medical Board and other Catholic funding agencies, the Catholic Church scaled up service provision by the replication of smaller scale programmes rooted in and responsive to the needs expressed by local communities in this five-country area. This study shows that such an approach is effective when undertaken within common guidelines and given central support.

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