Great series of papers on faith-based healthcare in last week’s Lancet, which is freely available online.

Dear Doctor/Dentist,

Have you ever written a letter to The Lancet? Now is your chance! There is a great series of papers on faith-based healthcare in last week’s Lancet, which is freely available online. Prof Andrew Tomkins, who is part of our CMF International Committee, is one of the authors. He says it’s been one of the most challenging papers he’s ever had to write, but it has been an amazing opportunity to raise the profile of faith-based work in such a key publication. Faith-based organisations and individuals make an enormous contribution to Global Health that is often overlooked or poorly understood. Here at last is a rigorous examination of the evidence, some of the challenges, and suggested ways forward. Three papers examine:

  1.       The role of faith-based health providers and a review of the evidence about reach, cost and satisfaction
  2.       Controversies in faith and health care – examining what different faith communities do and say about some of the ‘hot topics’ that can cause division
  3.       Strengthening partnerships between the public sector and faith-based groups

There are helpful short overviews here and here and an interesting account of the difference faith-based groups made in the Ebola epidemic, which illustrates why this whole topic is important. Could you write a short response? The papers encapsulate a huge amount of thinking and research but current experience and views from the coalface are just as important. Thus far there has been one letter in response, which is broadly positive. It would be great to have some letters from CMF members overseas – perhaps illustrating points made in the papers with stories of where faith-based health care has made a difference, or where a struggle over a difficult issue has been resolved – or where it remains a challenge. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to read all three papers, commenting on one of them will still be worthwhile. Input from national colleagues would be very valuable. Letters should be no more than 250 words. To make a response, go to Information for authors where it explains how to submit a letter. It does take a few minutes to create the necessary account, but it will be worth it to make a contribution to this important discussion! The deadline for responses to these papers is 14 November, so please pick up your pen (or open your computer) very soon.

Let me know if I can help in any way,

Best wishes Vicky Vicky Lavy,

Head of International Ministries

Vicky.Lavy@cmf.org.uk, 020 7234 9684

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