Across the world, Anglicans are often at the forefront of providing health services – running hospitals, providing vital medical supplies and serving local communities through health centres and clinics.
If the countries of the world are going to achieve the third Sustainable Development Goal – to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages – then churches need to be recognised part of the response. Closer working between states, UN agencies, private sector partners and civil society is essential. UN agencies and national governments need to recognise that churches are key partners in this work.
Examples such as the Mothers’ Union health education programmes in local communities, the Anglican-run hospital in Gaza, and the agile response to recent Ebola outbreaks, demonstrate the value of closer working between Anglicans and key partners in health provision.
Through the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations, provinces, dioceses and Anglican agencies have access to information and opportunities to develop and strengthen relationships with key UN organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
ACOUN’s work on global health is currently focused on supporting the work of churches in rolling back the tide on HIV/AIDS. Anglican responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic have been highly sophisticated and effective in many parts of the world, often reaching the poorest and most vulnerable who would not otherwise receive treatment.
ABC World AIDS Day message from 2016
ACOUN is particularly looking to support provinces and dioceses who are working to tackle on paediatric HIV and HIV in the context of sexual violence in conflict. These are two areas in which the church is already actively engaging, and in children and women who have been affected by sexual violence, the church is working with those whose voices are often left out of the discussions on how to tackle HIV in the local and national contexts.
We are also supporting advocacy efforts to tackle tuberculosis (TB), which has recently replaced HIV as the number one infectious killer in the world. ACOUN staff recently participated in an Interactive Civil Society Hearing on the Fight to End Tuberculosis.
Supporting the work of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA) – one of our main partners on a number of issues – we are encouraging as many people as possible to take action ask their governments to urgently take action to End TB. You can find out how to get involved in the campaign here.