Honiara (Fides Service) - To intensify cooperation in programmes of healthcare and development in the Pacific, recently Caritas Solomon Islands sent one of its teams on a three week visit to Papua New Guinea. In Madang, Wewak and Port Moresby, the Caritas team visited mainly structures which provide assistance for people suffering from HIV/AIDS. In fact the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea plays a major role in supplying funds and structures for treatment of AIDS patients as well as a vast campaign of information and prevention of AIDS. Catholic health centres and hospitals offer counselling and psychological support to HIV patients and special care for terminal patients.
Local health workers said in Papua New Guinea the HIV/AIDS test is eaasily accessible but many people avoid it fearing discrimination.
Caritas Solomon Islands intends to collaborate in health and social programmes with Caritas PNG. The visit served to view the situation and offered a profitable exchange of ideas and experience. Also at home in Solomon Islands national Caritas intends to boost its efforts to care for people already infected and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 2/03/2005 Righe: 21 Parole: 211)