Increasing Health through Leadership and Infrastructure-Building
April 6, 2009—A recent meeting of bishops and United Methodist health care leaders in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, has led to major capacity-building efforts throughout the Central Conferences in Africa through the assistance and support of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Bishop Janice Huie, of UMCOR board president and residing bishop of the Texas Annual Conference, chaired the meeting.
Ten of the 12 African Central Conferences were represented at the gathering, which was also attended by representatives from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and the United Nations Foundation, all key partners in The United Methodist Church's Global Health Initiative (GHI). The week-long meeting focused on creating a plan to help African Central Conferences and communities access resources so that their ministries can save more lives. The meeting included dialog and training sessions about ways each conference can build upon and improve existing health ministries; increase their partnerships and sustainability; and decrease dependence on the Church and US donations for health program support.
"This gathering laid the foundation for our ongoing cooperative work with the United Methodist health ministries in Africa," said Sam Dixon, Global Ministries' deputy general secretary for UMCOR and Global Health. "Working together, we can make a real impact on the health of the millions of people United Methodist hospitals and clinics serve, aiming to reduce maternal and child mortality and combat the devastating effect of diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS on African communities."
The meeting, also attended by United Methodist Communications, focused on assisting the conferences to build the capacity of local United Methodist hospitals and clinics, starting with developing health boards to coordinate their efforts. These health boards are the starting point for increasing capacity and effectiveness of the health ministries of each conference. This is especially important because across Africa, United Methodist hospitals and community based health care programs provide services to people and in remote villages where no other entity operates. These hospitals and programs need the consistent support and resources of the Central Conference structure to become more effective and save more lives. The aim of developing African Conference Health Boards is to provide oversight and backing to these critical health care ministries.To support United Methodist hospitals and clinics in their critical ministries of healing and health please give to Hospital Revitalization, UMCOR Advance #982168.