Raising the profile
I am enjoying being part of the team at Marshalsea Road as CMF's new Head of International Ministries and am looking forward to meeting many of you. My aims are to raise the profile of global healthcare issues within CMF, and to raise the profile of CMF among healthcare workers and mission agencies. CMF has a wealth of experience and expertise which can be a resource for others by giving advice, support, and encouragement to those already working abroad and those planning to go.
I will be working alongside Steve Fouch, keeping the multidisciplinary approach of the international department, and building on the partnerships he has forged with other Christian healthcare organisations (see bottom). We will be linking with sister fellowships in other countries through ICMDA, supporting each other and working together wherever we can. The world's healthcare needs are so enormous that we cannot afford to work in isolation:
If you want to travel quickly, go alone. But if you want to travel far, you must go together. (African proverb)
ICMDA HIV Initiative
My first week at work was at the ICMDA Eurasia conference in Schladming – a great start to the job. One of the highlights was being part of the HIV conference track. Having worked in Malawi for ten years, I had thought of HIV as an African disease, but the figures for Eastern Europe and Central Asia are alarming, with an adult prevalence rate of almost 1% and coverage of antiretroviral treatment (ART) much lower than in Africa.  In Ukraine only 8% of those who need ART receive it.
The track proved the value of linking people, as Canon Gideon Byamugisha shared his African experience with those from Eastern Europe. He was the first churchman to declare his HIVpositive status in the early days of the Ugandan epidemic and is a powerful campaigner for openness and honesty. This has been a significant part of the successful response to HIV in Uganda, bringing about early action instead of denial. His message to those working in Eastern Europe was 'Act now – pay less; Act later – pay more'. As a result of the conference, Christian doctors and national movements involved in HIV ministry in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are forming a network. Read more atwww.icmdahivinitiative.org
Developing Health course
This is one of the biggest CMF events each year – two weeks equipping doctors and nurses for work in resource-poor settings. This year's was the biggest course to date, with 69 participants – some doing the whole fortnight, others coming for one week, orfor individual 'specialist' days. Christian doctors have a great heritage of serving in needy places – often in places where others will not go. Mission and church hospitals are major health providers in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, faith-based organisations provide an average of 40% of health services.  In CMF we can be proud many of our members have given years of service all over the world – some pioneering new work, some becoming leaders in their fields. The Developing Health course is privileged to use them to offer excellent teaching in lectures, seminars and practical workshops.
The 2009 course runs from 28 June to 10 July at Oak Hill College in north London. Keep an eye on www.healthserve.org for details.
was marked on 19 October by hundreds of churches in the UK and thousands worldwide, to send a clear message to global leaders: keep your promises to help the poor. Micah Challenge is an international movement of churches and Christian agencies seeking to galvanise Christians towards greater practical and political engagement with the issues of poverty and injustice, and to put pressure on governments to honour their commitments to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Read more at www.micahchallenge.org.uk
Vicky Lavy is Head of International Ministries.
Further to Vicky's comments about the HIV-AIDS track which I was involved in organising, CMF is a member of the Christian HIV & AIDS Alliance in the UK. I am also working with UNAIDS and the UK Consortium of AIDS and International Development. We aim to get British faith-based organisations working with UNAIDS on their new global strategy to help governments and international bodies work more constructively with faith-based groups.
NCFI World Congress
Nurses Christian Fellowship International held their world congress in Nigeria in September. The focus was on the global health crisis and the role of Christian nurses in shaping policy at all levels, and the week was very inspiring, challenging Christian nurses to take their calling and profession seriously by making their voices heard in the corridors of power. A new leadership development programme was launched, and NCFI's main aim over the coming years will be to identify and develop the next generation of Christian nurse leaders.
Steve Fouch is Head of Allied Professions Ministries.