Faith and Health: Past and Present of Relations Between Faith Communities and the World Health Organization


  • Ted Karpf



WHO, Faith Based Organizations, HIV, Christian Medical Commission, Religious Health Assets, World Health Organization, Multi-lateral organizations,


Relationships between faith communities and international multi-lateral organizations can be complicated. While there is potential for synergy between the two, different values often characterize the approach of each. The history of these relationships is illustrative. This review describes collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO) and faith-based organizations (FBOs) in the implementation of primary health care, the role of spirituality in health, community responses to the HIV pandemic, and definitions of Quality of Life containing spiritual dimensions. However, important gaps persist in the appreciation and measurement of the contribution of faith communities to health assets on the part of governments and the WHO. FBOs can still draw from the nine points developed in the 1960s as a time-tested viable agenda for current and future operations.

Author Biography

Ted Karpf

The Rev Canon Ted Karpf is a retired Anglican priest and former missionary in Africa serving as canon missioner for HIV/AIDS to the Archbishop of Cape Town and Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He was also Partnerships Officer at the World Health Organization and formerly HIV/AIDS coordinator of the Anglican Communion. A priest and public health activist for more than three decades, he completed his career as adjunct instructor of Religon, Public Health and International Development at Boston University. He is currently living in the high desert of Northern New Mexico where he is activitely engaged in prayer, contemplation and writing.


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How to Cite

Karpf, T. (2014). Faith and Health: Past and Present of Relations Between Faith Communities and the World Health Organization. Christian Journal for Global Health, 1(1).