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nternational membership group Christian Connections in International Health has honored IMA World Health Board Member Dr. Samuel Mwenda Rukunga with its 2016 International Health Champion award.

The award recognizes an individual who has dedicated his or her life to global health from a Christian perspective, made significant contributions to the field and to the development of CCIH. The citation notes Dr. Mwenda’s strong leadership.

“He has created and led opportunities for south-to-south exchange and learning amongst members of the Africa Christian Health Association Platform to build organizational capacities,” the citation reads. “Because of his strong leadership, a key milestone was achieved in the history of (faith-based organizations), which was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to guide a public-private partnership between the Government of Kenya and faith-based health service providers.”

Church-based health centers account for the majority of health care facilities in Kenya.

Dr. Mwenda is the General Secretary and CEO of the Christian Health Association of Kenya, a national network of 575 Protestant church health facilities and programs. He has also served as the founding coordinator and currently serves as Board Vice Chair for the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform, which has membership of 34 Christian Health Associations from 26 African countries.

“I am honored to have contributed a small part to the work of the Great Commission,” Dr. Mwenda said. “There is a great future in the work the church is doing in health.

“Thank you for this honor,” he continued. “This is very significant for me.”

Dr. Mwenda has published and presented papers at various national and international conferences and events on health systems, public health and HIV and AIDS. He is a medical doctor specializing in health systems management.

CHAK is a key partner in IMA’s work in Kenya, and in its sponsorship of the Africa Christian Health Association Platform. The award was presented at the annual CCIH conference in Baltimore Sunday.