World Council of Churches

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144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
5.5.1 Primary health care towards universal health coverage

I am pleased to speak on behalf of the World Council of Churches. The WCC is a fellowship of 350 churches in 110 countries and territories representing over half a billion people. Since the 60’s the WCC has advocated for and promoted PHC.
The WCC executive committee meeting in November 2018 made a statement on “Ecumenical Witness and Action for Primary Health Care for All: 40th Anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration.” The WCC recognises that while much has been achieved in many areas of global health, the vision of “health for all” remains largely unachieved. Healthcare has become a major industry driven by the pursuit of profit, and often excluding the poor. However, the WCC considers health as a fundamental human right, and an essential foundation for the God-given dignity of every human being.
We lift up the contribution that churches and related organizations continue to make to promote health and wellbeing, especially to marginalised and poor people in many parts of the world, often at significant cost to the churches and through great personal sacrifice by frontline health workers.
We acknowledge with appreciation the address by Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus to the WCC central committee in June 2018, and his affirmation that “the time is right for a new memorandum of understanding to mobilize FBOs for universal health coverage.”
The WCC:
Encourages churches to recommit themselves to PHC for the realization of the vision of health for all.
Commits to pursue closer cooperation and partnership with the WHO in the realization of this vision, to mobilize churches for UHC.
Urges churches and partners to engage in advocacy and action for the right for all to have access to medicines at an affordable price, and for international health research to be re-focused on illnesses and afflictions that particularly affect the marginalized and poor people of the world.
Invites churches and ecumenical partners to engage in proactive church-based health promotion activities.