Debbie Dortzbach is Senior Health Advisor at World Relief and has spent 16 years with us. Here she shares how it’s possible to achieve the unbelievable:In the next 1,000 days we can stop HIV from infecting babies—worldwide! Unbelievable.
This is the goal set by a task force from UNAIDS and the United States Office of Global AIDS Coordination—to eliminate new infections among children by 2015 and to keep their mothers alive. As the faith community and members of the global family, we have work to do.
Only a few years ago, I cradled a pencil-thin woman whose one desire was to cradle her own baby just one more time. Her children were far from her. She longed to be strong enough to return to them. Today, antiretroviral treatments enable infants to avoid getting HIV from their HIV-positive mothers and dramatically enable HIV-positive women to not only return to health but maintain their health for many productive years, investing in their own lives and the lives of their families.
The Mozambican family in the photo tells a tragic story of three generations impacted by HIV. The boy, who is the primary caregiver, holding the baby is an uncle to the infant whose mother died of HIV, along with the boy’s mother, the grandmother to the baby. Their local church stepped in to help this family. Once again, faith communities across our world have a clear call to accept the challenge to helping millions of children, born and not yet born, to never be exposed to the virus.
We invite you to join World Relief in a faith partnership to support the elimination of HIV in children and the promotion of health for their mothers. At a recent event in Washington, DC, Dr. Eric Goosby, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator praised the past work of faith communities, claiming they had a “pivotal, unique role…providing health, healing, and especially hope.” He concluded by saying, “We need you now, more than ever.”
We pray that the Lord, “like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions…” (Deut. 32:11) will use His people to care for His families and spare generations to come from the impact of HIV.
Want to join in this endeavor? Click here to read more and find out what you can do.