Faith-based Healthcare in Africa

The Christian Journal for Global Health welcomes submission of papers for a special issue on the role and characteristics of faith-based healthcare providers in sub-Saharan Africa. Ideally, authors should submit their paper by 31 January 2023, although extensions could be provided based on requests. For any question on this call for papers, please contact the journal’s managing editor, Daniel O’Neil, at dwoneill@cjgh.org or the guest editor, Quentin Wodon, at globalcatholiceducation@gmail.com.

In many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, faith-based providers play an important role in providing health services to the population. Whether decades-old missionary facilities, or newly emerging services established by communities of faith, these providers account in some countries for a large share of existing health facilities. In addition, in about two dozen countries, Christian Health Associations (CHAs) have been created to federate Christian facilities, share experiences, and provide a platform for policy dialogue with the state. At the regional level, CHAs are federated by the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP). Despite the existence of these platforms, research remains limited on the market share of faith-based providers, their ability to serve the poor, the out-of-pocket cost for patients to use their services, and the quality of these services, as measured for example through assessments of staff knowledge or the satisfaction of patients with the services received. Research is also needed on the regulatory frameworks under which faith-based providers operate and on how the facilities view their faith identity – whether it helps them in providing quality services or prevents them from providing some services. Innovations by providers are also a topic on which research is limited.

The goal of the special issue is to share evidence and reflections on both the potential comparative advantages and limits of faith-based healthcare providers in the region, including assessments of their footprint, their performance, whom they serve, and their relationships with governments (e.g., public funding and regulatory frameworks). Another topic of interest is how these providers may have responded to (or been affected by) the recent pandemic. Papers can rely on quantitative, qualitative, institutional, or other types of analysis. Authors may submit original research papers, as well as commentaries, case studies, or other scholarship including reviews of the literature or of some aspect thereof. Issues related to how faith may affect various aspects of service delivery may be discussed in the papers explicitly but doing so is not required as long as papers make a useful contribution to discussions related to the role of faith-based healthcare provision in Africa.

References:

Fort, Alfredo. The quantitative and qualitative contributions of faith based organizations to healthcare: The Kenya case. Christian Journal for Global Health, 2017, 4(3), 60-71. https://doi.org/10.15566/cjgh.v4i3.191

Masefield S, Msosa A, Grugel J.  Challenges to effective governance in a low income healthcare system: A qualitative study of stakeholder perceptions in Malawi. BMC Health Services Research 20(1); 2020, 1142. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-06002-x

Moshabela M, Bukenya D, Darong G, Wamoyi J, McLean E, Skovdal M, Ddaaki, W, Ondeng'e K, Bonnington O, Seeley J, et al. Traditional healers, faith healers and medical practitioners: the contribution of medical pluralism to bottlenecks along the cascade of care for HIV/AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa. Sexually transmitted infections, 93 (Suppl). e052974-e052974. 2017. https://doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2016-052974

Olivier J, Tsimpo C, Gemignani R, Shojo M, Coulombe H, Dimmock F, Nguyen M, Hines H, Mills E, Dieleman J, Haakenstad A, Wodon Q. Understanding the roles of faith-based health-care providers in Africa: review of the evidence with a focus on magnitude, reach, cost, and satisfaction. The Lancet (British edition), 2015, Vol.386 (10005), p.1765-1775. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60251-3

Tafesse W, Manthalu G, Chalkley M. The effect of government contracting with faith-based health care providers in Malawi. Centre for Health Economics, University of York. Available from: https://www.york.ac.uk/media/che/documents/papers/researchpapers/CHERP167_faith-based_health_care_providers_Malawi.pdf