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Global Health Histories Seminar: Faith in Universal Health Coverage

This seminar explores the role religion plays in providing primary health care today and in the past, by analysing the work of medical missionaries and faith-based organisations.
Global Health Histories Seminar: Faith in Universal Health Coverage

A blood sample is collected at Saint Joseph's, a church-run hospital in Lesotho. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Event details

When

17 October 2018

Where

Ecumenical Centre, Geneva

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Primary Health Care at 40 and the World Council of Churches at 70

What: Global Health Histories Seminar 112: Faith in Universal Health Coverage
When:
17 October, 12:30-14:00
Where: Ecumenical Centre, Geneva

Speakers:
- Ben Walker, University of York, UK
- Mwai Makoka, WCC programme executive for Health and Healing

This seminar explores the role religion plays in providing primary health care (PHC) today and in the past, by analysing the work of medical missionaries and faith-based organisations, such as the World Council of Churches, and the Christian Medical Commission.

Since its birth in 1948 the WCC has played an active role in health and healing, supporting the medical work of its member churches. Yet the full extent of the role of the CMC in the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration in PHC is less well known.

PHC emerged from a collaboration between the WHO, the WCC, the CMC, and had its roots in the mission movement.

In this seminar two experts on faith and healthcare discuss how faith-based and ecumenical organisations developed PHC projects across the world in the 1980s, and how the renewed interest in PHC in 2018 can benefit from a complete understanding of the long-standing working relationship between the WHO and WCC.

The seminar, which also marks the 70th Anniversary of both the WCC and WHO, will invite discussion of this significant area in global health.

Ben Walker examines how the CMC grew and spread its influence particularly in West Africa. He also describes the ways in which PHC was formed out of long-term medical missionary visions of human development which were re-formulated and critiqued by the CMC for both religious and non-religious international health workers alike.

Mwai Makoka explores how the WCC got a self-understanding of its role in health and how this self-understanding influenced its activities, collaborations and initiatives. He also explores how the work of Christian communities in community-based primary health care has evolved since 1948.

For more information please contact: cghh@york.ac.uk

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The 70th anniversary of the WCC in 2018 is an opportunity to mark the achievements of the past 70 years in working for Christian unity and action, and to look to the challenges ahead as a fellowship of churches responding to God’s call for unity, mission, justice and peace. This event is part of a series of anniversary celebrations taking place in various locations throughout the year.