DR CHRISTOPH Benn, one of the directors of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and TB, is among the visiting faculty and practitioners to teach on a postgraduate course that investigates the role that religion has to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Benn, a trained physician and theologian, was one of the lecturers on a recent module of "Religion, Faith & Health and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic", an Honours/Masters course offered jointly by the Graduate School in Humanities and the Faculty of Health Sciences. In Case Study: HIV/AIDS
, he and others reviewed the link between medical science and various faith perspectives.
According to Benn, faith-based organisations have already and can continue to play a substantial role in halting the spread of the disease, whether it be in prevention, treatment or care. "I believe – and this is something I will present in the course – that the faith-based organisations do have a very specific contribution to make, and there's still a huge potential in them that has so far not been fully realised," he said.
In his position with the Global Fund, Benn currently works with both faith-based and secular organisations to rectify some of the distortions associated with the allocation of funds and facilities among nations plagued by the various diseases.
"We have a lot of prevention methods available – we know basically what works and what doesn't work – and we're getting increasingly more tools for care, but we have a massive problem that these are not available to almost 99% of those that need it," he said.
Benn has worked as a doctor in a number of countries in Africa. He has also been involved with the World Council of Churches and is the Deputy Director of the German Institute for Medical Mission.