Faith-Based Care Invisible to Health Researchers

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Christian, Islamic and other faith-based organisations provide extensive healthcare in the world’s poorest places, but are invisible to global health researchers, according to a series of papers published this month in medical journal The Lancet.

The result is a dearth of data about the services that organisations such as Islamic Relief and the Salvation Army provide, the articles say.

In many developing countries, faith-based organisations provide 40 per cent or more of the healthcare, says Robert J. Vitillo, a special advisor on health to Catholic development organisation Caritas Internationalis, and a coauthor of one of the articles. But few studies are conducted on faith-based healthcare and data that is gathered often fails to reach the medical literature, he says.

Edward Mills, an epidemiologist at consultancy Global Evaluative Sciences in Canada, who led the series, says he wants to bring faith-based groups into academic discourse around global health. Because they are not currently involved in collecting or interpreting evidence, Mills says, “we simply don’t know what they do, we don’t know what they recommend.”

Source: Science and Development Network (link opens in a new window)

Health Care