200599 Developmental Bible: Integrating HIV and other Reproductive Health information in the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:50 PM

Tekle-Ab Mekbib, MD, PhD , Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Population Council, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Abebaw Ferede, MSc , M&E Unit, Population Council, Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Ayehualem Tameru, MSc , HIV/AIDS Unit Head, UNFPA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, UNFPA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Developmental Bible: Integrating HIV and Reproductive Health information in the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church


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 curricula of training institutions of the Church; and,

• 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 end-line 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.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the role of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in passing key messages and information on important issues. 2. Discuss two ways to integrate developmental issues into the "lexicon of the Church" (i.e., the Developmental Bible). 3. Describe two ways to organize a series of teachings for those most influencial to getting the message out. 4. LIst ways to integrate the Developmental Bible in the curricula of training institutions of the Church.

Keywords: Faith Community, HIV Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator of the Developmental Bible initiative.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.