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CAMTAN addresses HIV/AIDS pandemic in seven county area

 

Local ministry effort confronts HIV/AIDS pandemic. Offers general health advisories and assistance to those suffering from the disease.

Five years ago, a meeting of local area ministers resulted in the founding of the Clarksville Area Ministers Technical Assistance Network, CAMTAN. A non-profit group organized to provide mental, physical, and spiritual assistance to those confronting an HIV/AIDS infection. CAMTAN also seeks to provide capacity building faith-based responses to HIV/AIDS. The organization furthers seeks to combat this disease with a prevention education outreach campaign as well.

Dispelling the vast amount of misinformation and simply false data about this disease that is circulating within the community takes a considerable amount their time. CAMTAN’s client service area includes the city of Clarksville; Montgomery, Robertson, Chetham, Dickson, Stewart, Houston and Humphreys Counties. Clarksville is the central operation base.

Pastor James Hill is the executive director. For those dealing with actual infection, support services range from transportation to medical appointments, job interviews or medication pick-ups, to weekly community meals, consultations and fellowship. Coordination and networking with larger organizations in the Metro-Nashville area is also a part of the program. Applying for grants is a major funding objective. IRS regulations require the organization to demonstrate continued viability before being accorded a non-provisional 501(c) (3) status. Many grant funding entities require that non-provisional status to qualify for their large supporting grants.

Several pastors, local churches and private individuals have pledged monthly contributions that enable the program to function in its current limited capacity during this probationary period. This level of support is vital to CAMTAN being able to sustain its operation and meet its mission. While all area ministers have been invited to participate, at a minimum, in a financial support capacity, not all contacts have been favorably received. Sadly, some pledges have failed to materialize and that has had a serious negative impact on the program’s ability to meet its principle objectives. As a non-profit, CAMTAN draws no government funding to execute any of its programs.

Nashville Cares, MICTAN and The Ryan White Foundation do not cover Montgomery County or our neighboring areas. Clients served by CAMATN must rely on the meager resources which CAMTAN can muster to meet its mission. An eight-passenger van, administrative office support located at Greenwood CM Church, a telephone/fax line and email address and a regular community luncheon with fellowship are primary support facets of CAMTAN. A social worker provides case management on a limited basis.

Although several coordination efforts have been attempted, the Montgomery County Health Department and its AIDS Coordinator has not able to meet with CAMTAN clients or participate in past health fairs hosted by the organization. While CAMTAN manned an information table with health brochures and T-shirts, the Health Department was noticeably absent at the August 8th PCA 6th Annual African Street Festival at Fairgrounds Park. This prevented blood pressure checks and diabetes screenings from being part of the community-wide outreach.

Pastor Hill attends several conferences and workshops in the course of a year. Information on infection rates, medical updates, medicinal breakthroughs and adverse reaction alerts, grant writing guidance and grant opportunities are just some of the benefits gained from these gatherings. Ofttimes, the expense of these conferences is borne out of his own pocket because CAMTAN’s funds cannot cover the cost and meet its clients needs. Public education is a major component of the awareness outreach. The impact of health irregularities of all kinds are the focus of community health outreach efforts. For CAMTAN, these ministries are vital in alleviating community health challenges.

CAMTAN is always in need of and appreciative of cash donations. Be it personal, business, organizational or house of worship in origin, financial donations are welcome. For more info on how you can help, write them at: CAMTAN, 1325 Dodd Street, Clarksville, TN 37040. Call at 931-647-5777.


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