World Council of Churches

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Don’t give up the vision of health care for all! urges WCC

Don’t give up the vision of health care for all! urges WCC

A pediatrician examines a young patient at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, 2003. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT

07 November 2018

Jesus was a healer, and from his first followers to now, in all ages and regions, Christians have been distinguished by their compassionate, often heroic, work for health and healing.

Yet today, while celebrating the worldwide ecumenical contributions of churches, Christian health care institutions, and health care networks, the WCC has urged churches, their partners and international organizations to redouble their efforts to ensure “the promotion of primary health care for all.”

In a statement from its 2-8 November meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, the WCC’s executive committee reaffirmed that “the WCC considers the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental human right, and an essential foundation for the realization of the God-given dignity of every human being.”

In 1967, the WCC established the Christian Medical Commission, which was instrumental in formulating the principles behind WHO and UNICEF initiatives in providing primary health care and in WHO’s aspiration for global health care for all.

Yet, seven decades on, the statement acknowledges, “the vision of ‘health for all’ remains largely unachieved.”

Indeed, says the statement, “Healthcare and related services have become a major industry driven by the pursuit of profit, and often excluding the poor.”

The statement spotlighted the need for affordable medicines, research in treatments for those diseases that particularly afflict the poor and marginalized, as well as the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

Read the full statement of the executive committee

Learn more about the range of WCC initiatives in health and healing

Learn more about WCC collaboration with UNICEF