UK National HIV Testing Week 2014
In 2014, Actionplus became the first organization in the UK to open an HIV testing center at the: Living Flames Baptist Church in Walthamstow in East London collaborating with the Positive East organization an HIV Service provider. Since this was a historic event it attracted interest from major national and international media houses including the BBC, ITV, the telegraph, the voice and many others. This project enabled us to create awareness of HIV and organised testing in the church for the first time in the country. We also used the occasion to promote the national HIV testing week event in Luton and signposted churches in the town to the GUM centres for testing.
UK National HIV Testing Week 2014
This year on the 23rd of November, Actionplus Foundation opened testing Centres in 4 churches across London, these include The Mountain Movers Chapel International in Southwark. The Dominion Centre in Woodgreen, Haringey, Church of Pentecost, Dagenham and Redbridge and Living Flames Baptist Church in Lewisham. These events were organised in partnership with African Advocacy Foundation, Public health England, Metro Centre on Line, Embrace UK and the Positive East, with the BBC and many other media houses in London given a nationwide coverage of the event. The events were funded by Lewisham Council, Gilead, Wakefield and Tetley Trust and London Catalyst.
Health and Faith Conferences 2015Two major conferences were held in 2 churches both in London and Luton.
U2 Take Action Now.
On Sunday 18th January 2015, we held our first HIV Health & Faith Conference. The event took place in the Living Springs International Church in Forest Hill. The conference gave us an opportunity to promote HIV wellbeing through church ministries and is one of a number of events we plan to hold in the next year. The event began at 10:30 and ended at 12:30 and was attended by 100 members of the public. Reverend Bamfo, Leader of the Living Springs International Church opened the event by welcoming his parishioners and spoke about the importance of learning and understanding of HIV. He then introduced Actionplus Foundation Chief Executive, Reverend Fred Annin.
Fred spoke briefly about the history of Actionplus Foundation and the work we do in the UK and in Ghana. Fred then went on to show a short film in which he featured. In the film Fred spoke out against London churches religious channels who were promoting prayer as the answer to ill health. Fred emphasised the importance of maintaining medication and not to rely on prayer alone.
Project Manager, Gareth Davies then had an opportunity to address the conference to provide a deeper understanding of the work of Actionplus. Gareth spoke about Actionplus Foundations four key objectives to address HIV in London and Ghana, which are:
1. To prevent HIV infection occurring.
2. To promote early diagnosis and access to treatment.
3. To challenge prejudice and reduce stigma.
4. To reduce poverty experienced by people living with HIV.
Gareth then went on to introduce our key note speaker, Professor Jane Anderson, Director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV, and Honorary Consultant at the Homerton University Hospital in London. Professor Anderson has particular clinical and research interests in HIV infection in migrant populations and in women and families and was ideally placed to speak to the audience.
Jane’s powerful presentation captured the attention of the audience. As well as being very informative Jane’s presentation also challenged some of the myths people have about HIV. At one point Jane highlighted that current HIV medication is so effective it means that you are likely to live an almost normal life span, a fact not known by the audience. Jane also covered other important issues such as how and where to receive an HIV test, the importance of testing early for HIV and the importance of community and family support for people living with HIV. The presentation was filmed and we will shortly post the film to our YouTube channel. Please follow us on Facebook and twitter so you can be informed when the film goes live.
Following on our keynote speaker Gareth had the opportunity to address the audience to highlight our forthcoming HIV Leadership Training Programme due to run in the spring.
Finally, Reverend Bamfo closed the event with a prayer and gave thanks for the very strong messages that had been shared. He closed by reminding the congregation of the importance of seeking and maintaining medical care.
The conference was a great success and this is the first of many we aim to hold in the future.
Luton (U Test 4 Life Luton)
The following is the breakdown of the various activities we run during the UTest 4 Life project.
1) 20 volunteers were recruited from 3 churches and mosques from Luton.
2) One day training was given.
3) Partners who participated included the Public Health Luton, Embrace Life Luton Bury Park Centre, International Charismatic Church Freedom Centre and In His Presence Worship Ministry.
4) The project was promoted by word of mouth, through the social media and announcements in churches.
5) The project was funded by the Near Neighbours
1) 30th November Morning Session: HIV Forum on the importance of having early diagnosis and the dangers of testing late. We also signposted participants to the various GUM centres in Luton for testing. Afternoon session: Participated at the local High Town event organised by the local High Town community. We informed a cross session of the public about the National HIV event and signposted them to the various GUM centres for testing.
2) Saturday the 24th of January 2015: We engaged with the local Moslem community at Bury Park to discuss about the high HIV prevalence in Luton and how to collaborate with them in combating the situation, through educational activities and setting up HIV testing centres in their Mosques. The local Mosques included Bury Town Mosque, Al Jira Educational and Cultural Centre and Masjid Al Guraba Islamic Centre.
3) Sunday 25th January 2015. The first HIV Conference in Luton which was our second this year in the UK was held at the International Charismatic Church.
U Test 4 Life Conference
The conference was held at the International Charismatic Church in Luton on Sunday the 25th of January funded by the Near Neighbours. The main speaker was Mr Gareth Davis the Programme manager of Actionplus Foundation. In his
presentation spoke about the four Pillars of Actionplus Foundation which are education, challenging stigma and prejudice, poverty and finally spreading the message about the importance and benefits of early HIV testing. He focused mostly on the African community taken the opportunities available for them to stop the spread of HIV infection on its track. He said that 27 people living with HIV in the
African community does not know they are living with it, He encouraged participants about the fact that HIV is not a death sentence as it once used to be. He also stressed about the benefits of early testing. He said that 27 per cent of people living with HIV in the African community does not know they are living with it, and assured participants that good treatment is available to help them to live the normal healthy lives if they are tested positive because good treatment is available. He stressed the fact that poverty is one of the major sources for which HIV infection spreads referring this to a research conducted by the Terrence Higgins Trust through their Hardship Fund programme. The conference was very successful with over 200 people attending.London
ACTIONPLUS FOUNDATION GHANA,
OUTREACH PROGRAMME AT ASHAIMAN LORRY PARK 29TH MAY, 2014
HIV campaign and testing was organized on the 29th of May 2014 at the Ashaiman Lorry Park to sensitize the community on the awareness of HIV and also to encourage early testing. It was also an opportunity to educate the community on change of behavior and tolerance towards people living with HIV to reduce the stigma attached to HIV. The campaign attracted drivers, travelers and people from all walks of life within the station area and many of them came out boldly in their numbers to be tested for HIV.
In all one hundred and eight people were tested with four testing positive.
TESTIMONIAL SERVICE, CHURCH OF PENTECOST
The campaign was rounded up with a testimonial service at the church of Pentecost Mt. Horeb Assembly, Teshie in the Ledzokuku – Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) on the 8th of June, 2014. There were testimonies from people who has benefited from Actionplus Foundation over the years. Notable among them are Rev. John Azumah who is now HIV Ambassador for Ghana AIDS Commission, Miss. Faustina Ocansey – Model of Hope Ghana and many others. A message from the CEO Rev. Fred Osei Annin was read. In his message he made a passionate call on the church to play its role in saving souls as mandated by the Bible and should feel for people living with HIV and give them some comfort rather than stigmatizing them.
AWARDS RECEIVED BY OUR FOUNDER AND CEO
DSC 2014 SOCIAL AWARDS
Rev Fred Osei Annin received the runner’s up award in the Influencer Category at the 2014 DSC social awards night.