Linda Chambers, USPG Ireland, and Janette O'Neill, General Secretary and CEO USPG:AWM with the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Lambeth launch of Hands on Health.
LAUNCH OF USPG’S NEW HEALTH POLICY HANDS ON HEALTH
“Hospitals in the developing world are overcome by excessive demand with preventable sickness,” says Linda Chambers, USPG Ireland. “Hospitals and clinics in many African and Asian countries are often over-stretched, sustained by declining foreign donations and lacking drugs and facilities.”
“USPG’s new approach is bringing communities into the centre of the health equation. Through local churches, communities and hospitals can enter into dialogue leading to practical action – health as a joint enterprise. As a result, hospital services will become more responsive and communities will have better access to the services they need. At the same time, there will be a greater emphasis on prevention through community based healthcare, which will help to reduce demand on hospitals.”
Speaking at the launch of USPG’s new health policy Hands on Health at Lambeth Palace Archbishop Rowan Williams said ‘It is easy to say that prevention is better than cure, but it takes courage and deep collaboration to turn this into a reality, transforming the health of communities. USPG is building on its considerable history in supporting mission hospitals and health clinics with an innovative approach that is very exciting.’
The programme will see local churches bridging the gap often felt between village communities and health facilities. Hands on Health acts as a catalyst enabling local communities to appreciate and act on their own strengths. In working together all stakeholders can address concerns, share ideas and work on solutions. As a result, hospitals will have a sharper focus and communities will have more say in their health needs.
At the same time, there will be a greater emphasis on prevention through community based healthcare, which will help to reduce demand on hospitals.
It means a strategic re-balancing of the health equation. By strengthening community-based preventative health work, cherished mission hospitals will be given a new lease of life. The hospitals’ specialism in diagnosis and cure remains key but greater focus on appropriate hospital based services will make institutions more sustainable.
For those interested in health issues ,a comprehensive policy and priorities document for the development and implementation of Hands on Health is available is available.
Alongside Hands on Health, USPG continues to focus on Growing the Church which covers theological and leadership training, capacity building etc.