By Gordon Nary
Gordon: For those of our readers who may not be aware of the Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania, how many dioceses are in Tanzania, and in what parish are you a member?
Elvis: 6 Archdioceses and 28 Dioceses. I am in Ndanda Parish in MTWARA Diocese.
Gordon: Approximately how many parishioners does Ndanda Parish and how long have you been a member?
Elvis: Ndanda Parish has about 3000 parishioners and I have been in that parish for more than 2 years.
Gordon: Unlike the United States and some other countries, there are significant vocations in Africa to the priesthood. In your opinion, what are some of the factors that contribute to the strong priesthood vocations in Africa?
Elvis: Priesthood is seen as an employment opportunity.
Elvis: Coordinate Health and Social Welfare opportunities related to HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment, Support for Most Vulnerable Children, Provision of Community Palliative.
Gordon: What initially attracted you to study to become a Social Worker?
Elvis: The war against HIV and AIDS, its direct and indirect effects.
Gordon: Providing palliative care to children with HIV/AIDS is a remarkable commitment. What are the most challenging aspects of your work?
Elvis: The biggest challenge is that most people believe in curative medicine. Any attempt to provide palliative care may be seen as failure to curative activities. Despite the ever increasing number of patients with chronic illness that mostly need palliative medicine, there is no clear National Policy on palliative care.
Gordon: How accessible are the necessary drugs to effectively treat pediatric AIDS in Tanzania?
Elvis: The antiretroviral drugs are available and freely to all the HIV and AIDS patients. They may have to pay for other opportunistic illnesses however.
Gordon: Is there a stigma affecting children with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania?
Elvis: If we compare last 10 years ago and today, there is less and less stigma related to HIV and AIDS in Tanzania..
Gordon: Could you comment on the Roman Catholic Church's Test and Treat Project in Tanzania?
Elvis: Projects like UZIMA Project that are Faith Based Organizations providing Health and Social Services are found in most of the parishes in Tanzania. They are therefore very important as part of the social policy of the Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania.
Gordon: You are a member of the International Association for Hospices and Palliative Care .Could you comment on the challenges of using opioids to control pain in palliative care?
Elvis: They are very important even though they could be addictive if not used properly. They are extremely important in palliative care because what we call ‘addiction’ could be known as good adherence to medication.
Gordon: On a less serious note ,I checked out some of your favorite videos on YouTube and learned that you are a Zahara fan. What is your favorite Zahara recording?
Elvis: I love her song “Loliwe"”
Gordon: Considering the leadership and strength of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa, do you anticipate that we will have an African Pope in the near future?
Elvis: Yes but it is not necessary.
Gordon: If any our readers want to help support the mission of the Uzima Project and your important work, where can they make a donation?
Elvis: They can make donations at http://www.ndanda.net/uzima/and at https://www.facebook.com/UZIMA-Project-Ndanda-202703223400545/
Gordon: I also hope that our readers will pray for you and your colleagues for your love of and commitment to help some of our most vulnerable children.