Engaging Communities to Improve Maternal and Child Health
Many Christian programs have been pioneers of the principles and practice of community-based primary health care (CBPHC). These experiences also influenced and informed WHO, resulting in the international Conference in Alma Ata and its Declaration in 1978, which put PHC on the global health agenda. Christian organizations continue to develop these approaches and understand their benefits, engaging and empowering communities to improve their own health, with Christian values as the foundational basis that make the impact more effective and sustainable. Henry Perry, MD, MPH, PhD, Senior Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discusses a recent review of 700 projects using CBPHC to improve Maternal and Child Health. Many of these projects are Christian organizations. The results were featured in the book, Engaging Communities for Improving Mothers’ and Children’s Health: Reviewing the Evidence of Effectiveness in Resource-Constrained Settings. Connie Gates, MPH, Jamkhed International – North America highlights the Comprehensive Rural Health Project’s (CRHP) pioneering contribution to the field of CBPHC. CRHP was one of only four projects (and the only Christian-based organization) identified in the review that had evidence of mortality impact for at least 10 years. It is also the only community health program included in “Health by the People” (Kenneth Newell, ed., WHO, 1975) that has continued. This book was a seminal document leading to the 1978 International Conference on Primary Health Care.