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A perfect storm - Micah's challenge about justice in global health

summer 2008

From triple helix - summer 2008 - A perfect storm - Micah's challenge about justice in global health [p5]

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In her opening address to the World Health Assembly in May,[1] Margaret Chan warned that five converging factors were leading to 'a perfect storm' of a global health crisis: global food price inflation; environmental degradation; the potential for another influenza pandemic; the spread to developing countries of the chronic diseases of affluence; and a staggering lack of progress in improving maternal and child health.

CMF members and many other Christians are at the forefront of caring for the sick, poor and vulnerable throughout the world. In some nations Christians provide as much as 60% of health care. However, care is only one response to the problems. These global health issues are a matter of justice, and of the rich honouring their commitments to the poor. At one level we are personally responsible – our lifestyles and purchasing choices have a big impact on the poor, but it is not just about us in the West learning to live more appropriately and sustainably. As believers we should also speak prophetically to our leaders, requiring them to act justly.[2] If our lives are consistent with that prophetic voice we have even more impact.

Over the last two years many of us have engaged in lobbying government about pro-life issues,[3] but as the American preacher and activist Jim Wallis pointed out recently, care for the unborn and care for vulnerable children in the developing world are not separate issues. They are both part of a scriptural mandate for us to speak up on behalf of those who have no voice. Who will speak up if we do not?

To equip Christians to do this, 'Micah Challenge' has launched two new resources. Impact is an online toolkit for individuals and churches to lobby our government for change.[4] Micah's Challenge [5] is written by leading Christian authors including Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Tim Chester and René Padilla. The book explores the scriptural and practical basis for Christian engagement with global poverty, helping us to ensure we are on a good biblical foundation when we stand up.

This is a time when the Christian voice for the vulnerable and marginalised is needed more than ever. Will we speak out or remain silent?


  1. Chan M. Opening Address to the 61st World Health Assembly 19 May 2008, accessed at
  2. Proverbs 25:15; Isaiah 1:17
  3. Saunders P. Abortion - Misinformation in high places. Triple Helix 2008; Easter:5

Article written by Steve Fouch

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