The African Christian Health Association Platform ( ACHAP) 8th Anniversary meeting
Theme: Evidence for faith-based health care provision
Hosted by the Christian Health Association of Lesotho
The 2017 biennial conference program chaired by Dr Karen Sinchinga Churches Health Association of Zambia, focused on the themes of Building Partnerships for FBO Health Systems Strengthening towards Achieving the SDGs. An important sub theme was building evidence for health systems strengthening for Christian Health Associations (CHAs)
CHAs’ capacities for data collection, and analysis vary widely according to the size and level of development of the CHAs. Many sessions and workshops presented state of the art of health information systems in CHAs, and considered ways to build the evidence capacities of CHAs, and of the collective platform, ACHAP. There was much discussion in formal and informal sessions of the conference on ways to strengthen evidence for CHAs’ activity and contributions.
In a preconference workshop hosted by World Council of Churches, Dr Isabel Phiri delivered a paper setting a context for the development of a comprehensive ecumenical health strategy , and Dr Mwai Makoka who heads the WCC Health and Healing program led an interesting discussion on the process towards developing such a strategy.
Dr Jill Olivier, University of Cape Town gave a comprehensive summary on research on African Faith-based Health providers, and together with her student Eleanor Whyte presented information on diverse models of engagement between the state and faith sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other sessions focused on partnerships for research, and on evidence leading to improved practices. CHAs from across sub-saharan Africa gave excellent presentations.
See here for access to the conference presentations
At a session on Global Partnership opportunities for Christian Health Associations, moderated by Rick Santos, Ellen Starbird, Director USAID Office of Population and Reproductive Health, affirmed the significant role of faith-based organizations in the provision of family planning and/or healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies.
Jean Duff spoke on behalf of the JLI about the value of expanding partnerships with denominational congregational networks for community health, and encouraged CHAs to increase the visibility of their important work by strengthening the data and advocacy capacities of the ACHAP Secretariat
The 10th anniversary meeting was a real celebration of the distinctive capacities of the CHAs and the dedication of their leadership. It was also a time for prophetic re-imagination of the future, for the sustainability and growth of CHAs’ loving service for health for all. A new ACHAP Board, led by Peter Yeboah of Christian Association of Ghana CHAG, now In its 50th year, will lead the CHAs into their next decade.