Global Health VolunteersHealth volunteers are essential in the current focus on global health. Last December 2-3, 2008, 41 persons met at the Tarrytown United Methodist Church, Austin, Texas, to examine current health ministries, learn about volunteer-related health projects, and explore strategies for connection through the efforts of Global Ministries, and those initiated by volunteers.
Organizational participants included UMCOR Health; Global Ministries' Mission Volunteers; and United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM), which operates on jurisdictional and annual conference levels. Each of the five US jurisdictions was represented, as were health volunteers serving in UMCOR-related projects in Africa.
Left to right: Stephen Grimsby, Dr. Glenn Perkins, Dr. Gary Williams, and William Volink are members of the UMVIM dental team from Minnetonka UMC in Minnesota, at work for the Community Healthcare Ministry of the Honduras Mission Initiative. (Photo credit: David Ceballos)Participants received an overview of Global Ministries’ Global Health Initiative and presentations on long-term health partnerships; community-based primary healthcare; the role of central conferences in health ministries; and Nothing But Nets, the anti-malaria effort.
Working groups focused on plans for projects in Africa and further training for global health volunteers. Global Ministries’ consultants Barbara Stone and Jane Dunn are following up by compiling a curriculum for volunteers on the basic concepts of community-based primary health care.
The UMVIM RX Connection meeting in May will include a presentation of community-based healthcare by Dr. Shobha Arole of Jamkhed, India, one of the leading authorities on the topic.