By John Barr
Agnella is a very determined person. Her passion is to save lives and to facilitate a quality of life for others who are HIV/AIDS positive.
Born and trained in Botswana, Agnella was recruited and placed to serve the community in West Papua by the German-based, United Evangelical Mission. She has established a clinic in Yoka, on the shores of Lake Sentani near Jayapura, and is involved in a program to prevent the spread of AIDS in West Papua while offering care to those who are infected.
The Uniting Church in Australia is actively offering support for this ministry through the provision of funds to cover operating costs and equipment.
Australian Government figures indicate the rate of HIV infection across West Papua is 18 times Indonesia’s national average. Recent tests among junior high school students in the highlands produced HIV rates as high as 45% of the group tested. Indeed, the impact of HIV/AIDS in West Papua is largely unknown. Its having a devastating impact on indigenous communities.
This massive issue is compounded by a lack of medical facilities, poor communication, a lack of awareness and a fear among many local people of government health workers.
Agnella is enthusiastically accepted by local people. Her African background is big plus as Papuans relate to her warm, vibrant personality. They identify with the struggle and the aspirations of their African brothers and sisters.
Agnella says HIV positive people do have a future. With the correct diagnosis and the right drugs, people can live a quality of life for many years. With extensive education, people can be made aware of the dangers and take adequate precautions.
Agnella is offering hope to people hit hard by HIV/AIDS in West Papua. Lives are being saved. Quality of life is being improved. The clinic in Yoka is a model for further developments under the Department of Diakoinia in the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua.
Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. On this day remember Agnella and others who are making a real difference!
Give gifts that enable marginalised communities in West Papua to build sustainable livelihoods this Christmas via Everything in Common