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International News

U.S. Church Wants to Resume Zimbabwe AIDS Work

September 13, 2010

Police in Harare have detained six workers at an AIDS orphanage supported by a California church, claiming they were operating an unlicensed clinic and dispensing medicine without a pharmacist's supervision. The six, five Americans and one Zimbabwean, are due in court Monday, according to their lawyer in Zimbabwe.

The Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, Calif., began its ministry in Zimbabwe in 2000. Minister Theophous Reagans said one of the Americans lives in Zimbabwe, while the others visit three or four times a year, paying their own way to help at the orphanage. "Our prayers and our hope is that they will be released," said Reagans.

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Robert C. Scott, an Allen Temple member, AIDS activist and doctor who died last year, started the church's work in Zimbabwe after he and other members attended an international AIDS conference in South Africa. On a trip to neighboring Zimbabwe, they were moved by what they saw at the Mother of Peace Orphanage just outside Harare.

"Dr. Scott worked diligently for 10 years to build that ministry and serve. We want to continue," said Reagans, noting that most of Allen Temple's members are black and feel a strong connection to Africa.

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's long-time ruler, is suspicious of independent aid groups, believing they support his opposition, and he makes it difficult for them to access donor funds. Conditions for aid workers have eased somewhat since Mugabe was forced into a power-sharing agreement with Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister last year.

Reagans said his church had not been affected by some of the problems encountered by other aid groups. "We really believe that for the last nine, 10 years, we have been working in consort with the authorities in Zimbabwe," he said.

Back to other news for September 2010

Adapted from:
Associated Press
09.12.2010; Donna Bryson


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
More News on HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe

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