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Misean Cara funding supports members’ work to provide critical health care for people living in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Fr. Dr. Richard Frechette CP from the Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs (NPFS) organisation checks a patient's x-ray in the sunlight. Dr. Frechette works with the Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM) in Haiti in a hospital that cares for orphaned children. Photo: Paula Geraghty.

Fr. Dr. Richard Frechette CP from the Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs (NPFS) organisation checks a patient’s x-ray in the sunlight. Dr. Frechette works with the Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM) in Haiti in a hospital that cares for orphaned children. Photo: Paula Geraghty.

This work is contributing to progress towards achieving internationally agreed goals such as reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Misean Cara’s 2013-2016 strategic plan commits the organisation and its members to support the marginalised and most vulnerable. In the area of health, Misean Cara believes that this can be achieved by supporting projects that address basic needs and the root and structural causes of poverty, vulnerability, marginalisation and injustice.

Background to Misean Cara’s Support for Health Projects

Misean Cara believes that health is a human right, as elaborated in various international agreements and declarations, and is integral to the goal of poverty reduction. Misean Cara adopts the World Health Organisation’s definition of health as: ‘a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ Poor access to affordable, quality care is a major contributor to inequalities in health.

The links between health and poverty are strong – poor health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. The poorest often cannot afford basic needs such as sufficient quantities of quality food, shelter and the medical care needed for good health. Other poverty-related factors also play a role, such as access to clean water and sanitation facilities, information about how to prevent ill health, knowledge of when it is critical to get health care, or people’s lack of ‘voice’ to demand basic health and other social services.

Poor health is also a major cause of poverty. The costs of getting health care (fees for health services and medicines, as well as transport to reach a health facility) can impoverish households or force them to sell assets to pay for care. The opportunities to earn an income or produce food is also affected when a productive family member becomes ill, or must stop working to take care of an ill member of the household.

To address the challenges in the area of health, Misean Cara supports high quality initiatives in four priority areas:

  • Target support where the wide range of missionary development work in healthcare is delivering vital support that complements state-led responses in the provision of essential services.
  • Support HIV and AIDS initiatives including those providing support to orphans and vulnerable children.
  • Support water and sanitation initiatives and environmental projects relating to the health and well-being of vulnerable and marginalised people.
  • Prioritise efforts and initiatives aimed at tackling the root and structural causes of poverty, vulnerability, marginalisation and injustice in the field of health.