Working together for global health goals: The United States Agency for International Development and Faith-based organizations
For many years, and before the term “FBO” was used for faith-based organizations, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported the work of FBOs in global health and development. The Agency has long recognized the impact of FBOs within that development space, because these organizations are often well positioned to reach the hard-to-reach and to go the last mile because of their strong ties to the community. Moreover, FBOs deliver a substantial percentage of the health services in some developing countries. Faith partners, whether Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, or other, have an important role to play as implementers in global health and to support global efforts towards achieving the MDGs in health. In addition, partnerships at national and international levels are key to the success of US Presidential Initiatives in the developing world, such as PEPFAR and PMI. FBOs also have an important voice in policy and strategy formulation. USAID support has catalyzed the work of FBOs, thereby helping host nations to achieve goals in ending preventable child and maternal deaths, improving communicable disease control and prevention, and by supporting the construction and renovation of hospitals and health facilities where service delivery is most needed. The development literature is replete with examples of the work of FBOs made possible through access to resources. This paper focuses on some of the work supported by USAID in global health initiatives in order to reach complementary goals and achieve significant public health advances. Given the vastness of the topic, not all the global health initiatives involving FBOs supported by USAID are included here; the reader is encouraged to access the USAID website and USAID implementing partners for further information.
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