Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Executive Director of Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network, chats with fellow attendees during the 8th Biennial Africa Christian Health Associations Platform in Maseru, Lesotho. Photo by Matt Hackworth/IMA World Health
Focusing on how the work of faith-based organizations can strengthen health systems and impact achieving the sustainable development goals
As the World Health Organization estimates that at least half of Africa’s health care is provided by faith-based groups, IMA World Health joined other global partners in bringing leaders from the continent’s Christian Health Associations together in Maseru, Lesotho from Feb. 27-March 3.
“Bringing the CHAs together is part of our commitment to working in partnership,” IMA Vice President for External Relations, the Rev. Amy Gopp said. “Our faith and our missions intersect to serve the most vulnerable, and the gathering in Lesotho is a critical point of connection.”
This was the 10th anniversary of the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform, or ACHAP, the convening body of Christian Health Associations. Following the U.N. General Assembly’s affirmation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the gathering focused on how the work of faith-based organizations can strengthen health systems and impact achieving the SDGs.
The conference attracted more than 70 speakers from 21 countries across Africa, Europe, the United States and India.
Key discussions during the event focused on the importance of strengthening partnerships between faith-based organizations and secular, governmental and private donors in order to reach the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“Nothing we do could be done without partners,” said Rick Santos, president and CEO of IMA World Health. Santos moderated a panel about global health partnership opportunities for faith-based organizations at the conference. Read more
Participants also agreed that if the U.N.’s global goal to achieve universal access to health care is to ever be realized, quantifying the contributions of faith-based organizations providing health care must be addressed.
“We’ve needed more evidence of the impact of faith-based organizations for decades,” Professor Jill Olivier said, a professor at the University of Cape Town. “The problem is everyone acknowledges that it’s essential, but then there’s little or no investment in it.” Read more
“SGBV is a lethal and global pandemic,” said the Rev. Amy Gopp, then-vice president of external relations for IMA World Health.
“As people of faith, we are advocates for everyone to live life abundantly. That includes a life free from violence.”
The Bible is the only book in many homes and is one of the most widely read texts throughout Africa.
With this in mind, faith leaders and health professionals know it is imperative to incorporate faith teachings in their efforts to address—and ultimately end—sexual and gender-based violence throughout the continent. “SGBV is a lethal and global pandemic,” said the Rev. Amy Gopp, then-vice president of external relations for IMA World Health. “As people of faith, we are advocates for everyone to live life abundantly. That includes a life free from violence.” In the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is riskier to be a woman than to be a soldier and rape wasn’t even considered a crime until 2012. Even with laws in place, the systems to intervene and to address SGBV often break down. Women and children are being violated at an alarming rate. Read more