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n estimated 84 percent of the world’s population is religiously affiliated, The Lancet writes. “Faith is a powerful force in the lives of individuals and communities worldwide.” And that force has a major impact on public health and health behavior.

With this in mind, the UK-based medical journal has published a series on Faith-based health care.

IMA World Health, which has been working with faith communities to advance health for more than 50 years, supported the series through its participation in the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities. The JLI is a group of organizations and individuals that promote the development of evidence base for Faith Based Organizations. IMA is a member and part of the leadership through the Steering Group which authorized and supported the creation of the Lancet series.

IMA President and CEO Rick Santos commented, “I am pleased with this attention to the work and role of faith communities — who are central but often overlooked — in health care around the world. My hope is that through this series, along with the work and results of the recent Religion & Sustainable Development conference in DC, the global public health community will elevate the conversation around how to empower and leverage faith communities in the effort to advance health for all.”

The Lancet says its stories build on the “extensive experience, strengths, and capacities of faith-based organisations (e.g., geographical coverage, influence, and infrastructure) offers a unique opportunity to improve health outcomes.”

The series includes three articles and one story open to the public, accessible with free registration.

The articles and stories are as follows: