From periphery to the centre: towards repositioning churches for a meaningful contribution to public health care
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The role of communities in health care has gained prominence in the last few years. Churches as community structures have been identified as instrumental in health-care delivery. Whilst it is widely acknowledged that churches provide important health services, particularly in countries where there are poorly-developed health sectors, the role of churches in health care is poorly understood and often overlooked. This article discusses some causes of this lacuna and makes suggestions for repositioning churches for a meaningful contribution to health care. Firstly, the article provides a context by reviewing literature on the church and health care. Secondly, it clarifies the nature of interventions and the competencies of churches. Thirdly, it discusses the operational meaning of church and churches for assessing health-care contributions. Fourthly, it explores the health-care models that are discerned in church and health-care literature. Fifthly, it discusses the contribution of churches within a multidisciplinary health team. Sixthly, it proposes an appropriate motivation that should drive churches to be involved in health care and the ecclesiological design that underpins such health care interventions.
- Faculty of Theology