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The role of faith in Sustainable Global Health

A seminar on The role of faith in sustainable global health was recently held at Hughes Hall. For anyone interested, you can watch the whole seminar on the link below.


Ben Walker, from York, presented the historical view using the case of Ghana. How in the period after the second world war, church communities in Germany collected and sent large amounts of money and personnel to Ghana to build and develop country wide health and education programmes. The presentation covered what this meant for the donor and the recipient peoples and nations. This explored both the organisational and the personal elements of faith and its role in health and health living. Alastair Lockhart, Hughes Hall Cambridge, presented the story of a religious group based in Bedford, Panacea, who propagated and disseminated the belief that a piece of linen and some water could effect cures. It was disseminated by post around the world with the sole obligation to write back to the centre about your reaction. Belief on the spiritual principles was not necessary. From this study Alastair could draw the following principles. Partaking in this process demonstrated a simple response to a pressing health need for some the healing was part of the religious practice, with rituals, spiritual powers and divine water, and fulfilled a deep religious need. Whilst for others it was used as if it were a secular medicine, or alternative medicine, hope and curiosity were important features. The discussion covered the organisational issues around giving, receiving and maintaining structures and organisations. The impact of the doctrine of health workers of particular beliefs on their actions in the field. There was also a discussion around the responses of individuals and their beliefs and actions. – Arthur Hibble