Glad to read that more people are realizing the power of the Church all over Africa to be a force for public health good. I say so because the government I served in realized the fact in 2004 and used it successfully to mobilize the 3.1 million population of Cross River state, Nigeria in the shortest possible time that led to cutting HIV seroprevalence rate from 12% to 6.2% (50%) reduction in three years. We also successfully used the Church and other stakeholders to mobilize the population to increase Routine Immunization from less than 20% to over 84%; and to eliminate Wild Polio Virus; etc at the same time.
But a note of caution needs to be given: some of the newer churches that preach ‘prosperity religion’ have a tendency to become hospitals attracting and holding on to pregnant women in Labour and thereby exacerbating complications of childbirth, delays and increased maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. Nothing wrong with prosperity that comes with hard genuine work, but they are preaching prosperity without work at all, ‘just sow a seed’ and prosperity comes!
Therefore in embracing the Church as an agent of public good, health authorities and practitioners must watch out for the fake Churches too. Churches should pray for the souls of the patient but should not delay their access to quality medical care.
HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007.
Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group: http://www.hifa.org/people/steering-group: http://www.hifa.org/support/members/joseph-0
Email: jneana AT yahoo.co.uk