The International Health and Development Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) coordinates the ministries of the denomination in international health and development. The church’s concern focuses particularly upon serving the poorest of the poor and helping them to attain health and wholeness.
Through more than 150 years in health ministries the PC(USA) has learned that:
- Health is more than absence of physical illness and disease. It is a wholeness of mind, body and spirit and a process of integration and harmony with one’s self and in relationship to others and to God.
- Health cannot be pursued apart from the culture and conditions under which one lives. It is affected by beliefs, knowledge, personal habits, poverty, violence, injustice, stress and conditions in the physical environment.
- Lasting changes in the health status of communities can best be realized through ministries in partnership with indigenous churches and through development of national leadership.
- A comprehensive health care system requires an integrated system of referral hospitals, health centers and clinics and well-trained community health workers working together to achieve health for all.
The International Health and Development Office works in partnership with local churches and institutions under indigenous leadership to develop health programs which:
- Place priority on the most vulnerable and poorest segments of the population.
- Emphasize ways to alleviate the causes of ill health and promote true health and wholeness.
- Provide services in places where other services do not exist or cannot be undertaken by local governments or other indigenous organizations.
- Assist local communities to develop their own leadership and decision-making processes to determine local needs and organize ways that they can be met.
- Plan, over time, for increasing self-reliance and sustainability.
- Encourage use of appropriate technologies and local resources as they are available.
- Measure impact (success) against:
- Improvement in health status.
- Christian witness through service.
- Level of self-determination and responsibility.
- Good stewardship of resources.
The International Health and Development Office interprets the health ministries programs and priorities of partner churches to congregations and interested groups and individuals and assists those seeking involvement in global health and development mission programs.
Criteria for Program Grants
- Program addresses root problems rather than symptoms. Preventive approaches to health problems of communities should be considered as well as curative services.
- Program targets the poorest segments of society. Women and children should especially be considered as a focal point for programs and services.
- Grant will enable increased sustainability. Proposals must consider the ability to continue services and institutions in the future without dependence upon outside resources.
- Grant will facilitate partner church ownership of the program. The goal for all programs is that they be planned and implemented, as much as possible, by the partner church and the community which will benefit from the services.
- Program empowers community to deal with its own problems. The goal of programs is to enable churches and communities to develop their own decision-making processes to determine need and organize ways that needs can be met.
- Program practices good stewardship of resources. Appropriate levels of technology should be considered and local resources should be used to the extent possible.
- Program provides for evaluation of impact, rather than simply measuring the number of activities or people being served.
- Health and development is a high priority ministry of the partner church.
- Program enhances unity of partner church. The program should exemplify the ability of Christians to work together to address the needs of communities.
- Program complements existing services.
- Program is consistent with the policy statement of the International Health and Development Office.