Caritas Haiphong (northern Vietnam ) is continuing to help people with HIV/AIDS who have been marginalised by a materialistic culture only interested in business.
Charity work among people living with HIV, both Christians and
non-Christians, was one of the main activities the Church undertook during the
Year of Faith that just ended, involving local public officials as well.
"This year, we
have taken care of our brothers and sisters living with this disease," a
Caritas volunteer told AsiaNews. "We
also brought them the Good News so as not to make them feel alone or give up
Thanks to the
contribution of Germany Misereor, a German Catholic organization, Caritas treated
more than 3,200 people in one year. However, for the Catholic charity, it has
been an uphill struggle because local authorities have shown little interest in
funding programmes or buying drugs used in treating patients.
Ms Doan, director
of Haiphong HIV/AIDS Centre Prevention, said that "the risk of contracting
the virus will increase if the necessary measures to eradicate it are not taken."
In Haiphong alone,
the number of HIV cases was more than 10,000 as of June 2013. Due to poor
prevention, 5.900 of these have developed full-blown AIDS, resulting in more
than 3,000 deaths.
Many of the
patients are children who contracted HIV from their parents. To help the
families, Caritas and officials from the Centre for Health Education Media of Haiphong
City organised training courses to provide medical and psychological support to
Chinh, deputy director of the Centre for Health Education Media of Haiphong City,
and Fr Jean-Baptiste Vu Van Kien, director of Caritas Haiphong as well as
representatives from ten 10 dioceses under the jurisdiction of the archdiocese
of Hanoi took part in a recent seminar.
The latter provided
training to 28 young Catholics who will serve among the sick in Quang Ninnh,
You Durong and Haiphong, passing on their knowledge to other volunteers.