Strengthening Care Opportunities through Partnership in Ethiopia (SCOPE) is a partnership between the University of Washington Department of Global Health, University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA, the University of Gondar, Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
SCOPE serves populations in regions with a high incidence of HIV/AIDS, where there is a predominance of one religious group with many more religious leaders than medical professionals, and a promising opportunity to form bridges between the medical and religious communities. By educating local faith leaders about HIV/AIDS and antenatal care and inviting their partnership in conducting outreach to expand HIV testing and treatment, SCOPE serves pregnant women who would not otherwise seek testing and care. SCOPE also serves families of HIV+ individuals by reducing the risk of HIV transmission and the burden of care. Finally, by enrolling women (with or without HIV) into antenatal care, SCOPE helps keep mothers alive to care for their children, thereby serving the next generation.
Ultimately, SCOPE will prove to be (and, indeed, already is) an effective model for strengthening collaboration and understanding between indigenous faith-based and medical communities to address this global pandemic.