Progress in 2018
Missionaries have an extensive track record in implementing health care projects in developing countries. In some cases, projects involve stand-alone health interventions while, in others, health care is delivered as part of an integrated approach that can involve activities in livelihoods, nutrition, income generation, education or human rights.
The work of our members in this sector contributes directly to Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) and 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation).
In 2018, Misean Cara supported 52 health projects implemented by 27 members in 22 countries to a value of over €3.3 million, with a target population of almost 825,000 direct beneficiaries.
The amount allocated to non-communicable diseases represents a 25% increase on the 2017 figure, with cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers increasing in prevalence. Responding to this trend, our members in a number of countries are initiating more outreach and mobile clinics, travelling to remote areas to deliver curative care, preventive care and health education.
A long-term community presence, coupled with a strong health education initiative, can bring about changes in attitude and behaviour on the part of individuals and communities regarding preventive health measures. In Kajiado, Kenya, for example, a health project run by the Society of the Divine Saviour is working to overcome vaccination hesitancy through immunisation campaigns. Through family outreach and antenatal care, the project is also educating women on the importance of delivery in the presence of skilled health professionals. Such developments can contribute to improved health outcomes and reduce the future burden on public health systems.
Outreach is a key component across numerous Misean Cara health projects. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Redemptorists are working to improve the maternal and child health of 4,600 women and children in rural and difficult to reach areas via outreach in the form of medical services and education. The Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa in Zimbabwe are conducting workshops on HIV and sexual health with children and adolescents in schools and communities under the banner of “Education for Life”. Both projects involve strong collaboration with government departments.
Photo caption: Eliwaja Samwell speaking to villagers as part of the outreach work of the Faraja Centre. She visits villages, hospitals and schools to encourage people to ascertain their HIV status so that, if they are living with HIV, they can access treatment and counselling to continue positively with their lives. Run by the Medical Missionaries of Mary, Faraja is considered by the Tanzanian government to be a centre of excellence in HIV treatment and prevention. Photo: The Faraja Centre.