American Public Health Association
137th Annual Meeting & Exposition
7–11 November 2009
Developmental Bible: Integrating HIV and other reproductive health information in the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Abstract no. 200599)
Tekle-Ab Mekbib, Abebaw Ferede, and Ayehualem Tameru
In rural areas, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) structures provide the only sustained institutional contact. Key messages on HIV prevention, reproductive health (RH) issues, and harmful traditional practices (HTPs) could be communicated by priests, and if they were to stop blessing child marriages, complications of pregnancy and childbirth including fistula could be significantly reduced.
- To integrate key messages on HIV/AIDS, RH, and HTPs into the “lexicon of the Church,” hereinafter referred to as the Developmental Bible;
- To incorporate it into the curriculums of training institutions of the Church;
- To conduct trainings for priests.
Four regions and eleven training institutions are participating in the program. Among these, seven are intervention and four are control sites. Baseline survey is finalized, and endline survey is planned.
This innovative intervention is in its six months of implementation, and information on key messages developed for inclusion in the daily teachings of the Church will be shared. Baseline survey preliminary findings will be discussed, and experiences in conveying key developmental messages at the community level will be presented.
This cost-effective approach will bring behavioral change among the largest communities in the country. Engaging religious institutions for the prevention of HIV is an essential strategy for replication.
(1) Explain the role of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in passing key messages and information on HIV prevention, reproductive health issues, and harmful traditional practices such as early marriage; (2) Formulate key developmental messages and integrate them in the "lexicon of the Church" hereinafter called the Developmental Bible; (3) Organize a series of teachings for the highest echelon of the Church, administrators, priests, instructors of Sunday School, and Women Church Association members; (4) Integrate the Developmental Bible in the curriculums of training institutions of the Church.
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