World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

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Health and healing

The WCC’s health and healing programme facilitates networking and dialogue to promote health and healing for all people. Throughout 2017 and 2018, the WCC is developing a global ecumenical health strategy to meet continuing and new health challenges worldwide.

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“Facing the storm of HIV, we can move together, be agents of change”

“Facing the storm of HIV, we can move together, be agents of change”

Taking place on 4-8 September in Kampala, Uganda, a WCC and UNAIDS regional consultation on HIV Treatment Adherence and Faith Healing in Africa has gathered to address issues of “faith-healing only” practices in the context of HIV and AIDS. At the core is the question of how religious leaders can partner with governmental organizations nationally and internationally, as well as with other parts of civil society to develop strategies to advocate for HIV treatment adherence, and to build bridges to those among faith-healing only practitioners who are open to dialogue.

Inaugural health forum draws input from WCC and partners

Inaugural health forum draws input from WCC and partners

At the first-ever World Health Organization Africa Health Forum in Kigali, Rwanda on 27–28 June, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and its partners submitted a message urging the forum not to overlook the vital role of the church in the arena of healthcare in Africa.

“Our calling to health and healing is as strong as ever”

“Our calling to health and healing is as strong as ever”

Convening a range of international representatives and partners in Geneva on 24 May, the WCC reiterated its commitment to the ministry of health and healing for all people, taking new steps towards a new Global Ecumenical Health Strategy.

UN discussion focuses on women, HIV and property rights

UN discussion focuses on women, HIV and property rights

“She is HIV positive too. No need to inherit her late husband’s title deed. She will die soon and leave it anyway.” These man’s thoughts during his brother’s funeral were used by Jane Ng’ang’a, national coordinator, International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV (INERELA+) Kenya Chapter, to push the debate on property and inheritance rights linked to HIV. The discussion was held during the 61st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), on 16 March, at the headquarters of UNAIDS, in New York.

Partnership and mapping are a priority for WCC health and healing programme executive Mwai Makoka

Partnership and mapping are a priority for WCC health and healing programme executive Mwai Makoka

Working as a medical doctor in his home country Malawi seems to have given Dr Mwai Makoka ideal experience for his task of programme executive for Health and Healing at the WCC. He has experience in medical microbiology, HIV and AIDS, working for both government and church-based institutions after graduating as a doctor in Malawi, a country accustomed to working with church-run hospitals.

“It’s time to be brave, to form diverse partnerships”

“It’s time to be brave, to form diverse partnerships”

“How can we work together, to share what it is in our hands, share the work that is before us? How can we empower one another, capacity-build our religious leaders and mobilize our congregations, to be more proactive in health-promoting issues?”

“Health and healing for all people, that is the challenge”

“Health and healing for all people, that is the challenge”

“So much has changed, and yet so much remains the same. Global public health structures have changed, yet gross inequalities still exist – between developed and under-developed countries, between rich and poor, and the vision for equitable health care still lies in the far distance. Primary health care remains a task unfinished.”

WCC to develop Global Ecumenical Health Strategy, starting in Lesotho

WCC to develop Global Ecumenical Health Strategy, starting in Lesotho

“Standing at the threshold of the Sustainable Development Goals, the WCC believes it is time for the church to reaffirm the role it has played over centuries as leader in global health, and to consolidate efforts towards health and healing for all,” says Dr Mwai Makoka, WCC programme executive for Health and Healing. Meeting in Maseru, Lesotho, on 27 February, the WCC is starting the process of developing a Global Ecumenical Health Strategy, following the legacy of churches’ high profile in health care and mission historically.

Jamaican women inspired to educate communities about gender-based violence, HIV

After learning about the link between HIV and sexual and gender-based violence, the Rev. Neila Ingram said what was on the minds of many women religious leaders: “So now I have work to go and do in my community and church.”

Gathering in Kenya explores eliminating HIV stigma through love and dialogue

Gathering in Kenya explores eliminating HIV stigma through love and dialogue

More than 120 religious and spiritual leaders, health workers and young people met on 7-8 February to focus on strengthening the fight against stigma in the HIV response in Kenya. They were joined by representatives from the Kenyan government, civil society organizations, networks of people living with HIV, and development partners for an event in Nairobi. The meeting, “Faith on the Fast Track: Eliminating Stigma and Discrimination Through Love and Dialogue” aimed to assess the impact of the Framework for Dialogue methodology which has been implemented in several countries since 2013.