Community Health Global Network

by Dr Ted Lankester
Posted on 1st July 2006

Most of you who read this will be aware of the health care crisis facing vast areas of the developing world. The statistic that most sticks in my throat is WHO's estimate that the world is short of 2.5 million health workers.

"the world is short of 2.5 million health workers"

But of course the most accessible health workers of all are household and community members. And they are also effective. Experts have estimated that at least three quarters of all episodes of infectious disease (the main killers in the developing world especially of children) can be prevented and treated by well trained community members, providing they are organized into well functioning teams and community based programmes.

Worldwide there are thousands of such community health projects, many of them run by churches, and Christian organizations. However many are struggling and seriously short of resources, knowledge and credibility.

InjectionJust imagine if these groups, along with hundreds more already in the dreams and visions of God-fearing health workers in developing countries, could up their game. If instead of their effectiveness totalling say 100 points it could total 1000. If instead of being small struggling, disconnected groups never quite reaching that critical mass and real potential, they could break the barrier, make an impressive contribution and start reducing the number of children, mothers and vulnerable people dying in rural poverty or rotting in urban slums.

A new organization called Community Health Global Network has a vision to help empower these community groups. To help turn struggling community health programmes into powerful players that make a strong contribution at local level, and have the credibility to take on a respected role in the health services of their countries.

CHGN which is a separate and self-funding part of InterHealth was started last year. It has 3 part time leaders, a growing number of members and a lot of passion. This is what we are aiming to do:

* Set up an interactive website on community based health care which can be a centre for learning, encouragement, accessing practical knowledge and learning from each other. It is already on line at www.communityhealthglobal.net
* Set up regional representatives in different parts of the world who can help coordinate, encourage and build the capacity of community based health programmes
* Enlist the help of existing experts and consultants in- region to act as trainers and facilitators to speed this process.
* Make use of high quality "hub projects" in different parts of the world, who demonstrate good practice and can pass on their vision and knowledge to others. Several have already signed up.

This is a huge undertaking and will only be possible if as many people and agencies as possible join and contribute. We have a dream of a vibrant effective network of programmes and individuals working together so that Christian community based health care can be a living force in our world- both in providing essential care but also in showing that programmes motivated by the love of God ands following good practice can become trailblazers.

You can help us by:
* Praying
* Joining as members (free)
* Joining as agencies or organizations ( for a small charge) and gaining wider benefits
* Accessing and using our website
* As a health worker offering your services for us to consider you becoming a topic convenor, consultant, or regional rep (more details on the website)
* Contributing financially
* Telling others about us, especially health workers you know who are involved in front line work overseas. They should email us at team@chgn.org

CHGN has no property, and no formal office. It is a network run by its members, coordinated by a team of 3 but believing that an idea whose time has come, based on the ideals and empowerment of Jesus Christ can make a major contribution to Global Health

Will you consider joining us?

Dr Ted Lankester
Dr Nick Henwood
Elizabeth Symmons

June 2006
www.communityhealthglobal.net
team@chgn.org