f the UN’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,” researcher Jill Olivier said, a professor at the University of Capetown. “The problem is everyone acknowledges that it’s essential, but then there’s little or no investment in it.”
The need for more statistics and analysis is especially prescient now. The U.N. set access to universal health care within the third of its Sustainable Development Goals. Yet country-level public health monitoring systems frequently lack connection with faith-based services. At the same time, investment in monitoring and evaluation often fails to become a priority for local faith-based agencies.
That disconnect, Olivier said, could potentially mean that while access to universal health coverage may be claimed, it might not include the poor and marginalized communities served most often by faith-based organizations alone.
On the African continent, faith-based organizations are reflected by Christian Health Associations, which focus heavily on reaching the poorest and vulnerable communities. Leadership from the CHAs have gathered in Lesotho for the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform’s 8th Biennial Conference.