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Global Health Histories Seminar 112: Faith in Universal Health Coverage: Primary Health Care at 40 and the World Council of Churches at 70

Wednesday 17 October 2018, 12.30PM

Speaker(s): Ben Walker (University of York, UK) & Mwai Makoka (Programme Executive for Health and Healing, World Council of Churches)

Event Livestream:

Event Poster: Global Health Histories Seminar 112 Poster (PDF , 428kb)

Please note time difference - event starts at 12:30pm CEST

As the 40th Anniversary of the Declaration of Alma Ata approaches and as fresh initiatives in Primary Health Care (PHC) are being developed, it is vital to remember the role of faith-based organisations in its creation. PHC emerged from a collaboration between the WHO, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Christian Medical Commission (CMC), and medical missionaries of different denominations. In many cases it was medical missionaries themselves who, with the backing of Christian Health Associations (CHAs), rolled out PHC projects and schemes across the world in the 1980s. The restoration of the WCC/WHO Standing Committee is of historic significance and has great potential for mobilising churches to renew their commitment to their role on health and healing alongside faith and evangelism. In order to support these efforts critical living histories of the WCC/WHO Standing Committee and collaboration between the WCC and WHO more widely are of huge value. Living histories can ensure that new members will rapidly become conversant of the historic context of shared WHO/WCC work. Learning about the problems and successes of the past will facilitate improved dialogue between the WHO and the WCC, and ultimately improved outcomes for the healthcare campaigns such as PHC on which they collaborate.

In this seminar which also marks the 70th Anniversary of both the WCC and WHO, two experts on faith and healthcare will present papers on PHC and the WCC, and 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 will explore 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.

Location: World Council of Churches

Admission: Live broadcast: