Calling Attention to Global Health Priorities
World Health Day is held annually on April 7. It is an international day commemorating the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO), the agency of the United Nations directing international health projects to help all people attain the highest possible level of health.
World Health Day has been held every year since 1950. The globally recognized day presents an opportunity to mobilize support for awareness, action and research on global health priorities.
Good Health and Well Being for All
Half of the world's population does not have access to essential health services. Half are at risk of malaria. There are close to two million infant deaths a year that could be prevented by expanding access to existing vaccines.
For all the advancements of modern medicine and preventative care, there is an enormous lack of execution in providing medical assistance to those with the greatest need.
The Preamble of the WHO Constitution defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity," and the WHO Constitution claims the highest possible standard of health as a fundamental human right for all people (#HealthforAll), deeming the healthy development of children of basic importance.
Health and medical care is something often taken for granted in high-income countries. Many sicknesses are easily treated within a week and with a trip to the pharmacy. But in many low-income countries, access to convenient and rapid treatment is not the norm. When families are unable to afford necessary health services, even minor illnesses suddenly become life-threatening, especially for the most vulnerable — children.
All children deserve access to the health services necessary to ensure their well-being. Proper health care and treatment is essential for establishing a firm foundation from which children can grow to their fullest potential, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Without proper medical services, a child can get caught in a repetitive cycle of sickness that impedes healthy development.
Ensuring that all children, especially those in low-income countries, are properly treated and cared for from an early age, is a pillar of holistic development. Donating to our Medical Assistance Initiative allows a child to receive preventative health measures and emergency treatment when needed.
When children are healthy, they can participate in life. They are able to play, grow and learn. They can attend school and church. They can become who God made them to be.
In 3 John 1:2, the apostle writes to his friend: "I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well" (NIV).
This care for both the body and soul is an example of Christ's love and His ministry, which was characterized by caring for both the spiritual and physical well-being of others.
Giving medical assistance to those in need is an opportunity to show kindness and Christ's love through voice and deed.
Health and Poverty
Health and poverty are closely intertwined. In low-income countries, diseases infect a greater number of people due to inadequate access to sanitation and health service. Illnesses that are treatable and easily managed in high-income countries are still widespread in nations without the ability to provide treatment to all citizens. Diseases such as AIDS, Ebola, malaria, and tuberculosis are of high concern and consistently kill a large number of people who don't have access to preventative training and proper treatment.
When communities have access to health services, each individual is better protected from the spread of disease. Even widespread and deadly diseases can be protected against. The World Health Organization made history in 1979 when it declared that smallpox had been eradicated. Though a campaign of global cooperation, countries used prevention activities, mass vaccination and containment measures to stop the disease outright.
But even when vaccinations and treatments are available, they aren't always affordable. About 100 million people are still being pushed into "extreme poverty" . . . because they have to pay for health care." 1 A cyclical pattern of sickness and debt takes hold, making increasingly important health care less and less attainable. Ultimately, low-income families have to go without health services to economically survive, at the expense of treating long-term health problems.
A child’s ability to receive basic health care then depends on his or her parent’s economic standing. Through no fault of their own, children may have to forgo even basic medical check-ups throughout their childhood. Diseases that can be treated in their early stages remain undetected, and the consequences expand as the child remains undiagnosed and untreated.
Our holistic approach to child development addresses a child's physical, economic, socio-emotional and spiritual growth, and health care is one tangible way to care for the youngest of children.
Caring for "the Least of These"
Emergency health services are costly and beyond the scope of what traditional child sponsorship can cover. Through our Medical Assistance Initiative, we commit to the well-being of individual children. We declare that our support for a child's health is lasting, even when the scope of medical need becomes trying.
Matthew 25:35 shows God’s heart for caring and providing for those in need when he speaks blessings over the generous, declaring:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in."
It is explained that whatever is done unto a brother and sister in need is done unto God. It is with this conviction that we seek to ensure no child is in need of medical care and finds themselves wanting.
Our Medical Assistance Initiative provides a wide range of help for whatever a child's specific need may be. This assistance offers:
- Basic and specialized medical care for children facing temporary or chronic illness
- Emergency medical care for children with urgent medical needs, including broken bones, intestinal infections and other conditions that require immediate attention
- Therapeutic feeding for children suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition
- Food stability assistance to improve and maintain nutrition levels through meal planning and sustainable farming
- Counseling for children and caregivers dealing with life-altering events such as trauma or major illness
- Oral health care, including dental screenings, fillings, extractions and education
- Vision testing and provision of eyeglasses, which are closely linked to stronger educational performance
- Vaccinations to prevent diseases such as hepatitis, meningitis, tuberculosis and typhoid
These services are both prescriptive and preventative. By treating existing diseases and conditions, and proactively working to promote individual well-being and healthy practices, we reduce the future number of cases that will need treatment. Instilling healthy practices from an early age and screening for disease throughout childhood lessens long-term effects and makes it easier to provide #HealthForAll.
Your provision is a demonstration of empathy and a kindness inspired by Christ’s love. Today you can give a child the opportunity to grow up healthy and have the full opportunity to realize his or her God-given potential.
This World Health Day, you can be a voice of support and make a difference in a child’s life by providing needed medical assistance.