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The life of Jesus Christ must inspire doctors & global health workers

The intersection of global health, theology and the craft of development has met with limited understanding over centuries which I now try to dissect in broad strokes. There are more believers in this planet than atheists and agnostic people, put together. This naturally subscribes to the notion that professionals with human intellect surrender to the divine in many ways; which over centuries remains inspired by theology to a great extent. The Catholic church in full measure with well documented sources, evidences and database has been driving the theology components successfully over centuries which no other religion can come close to matching. But the most inspiring phenomenon i.e. the life of Jesus Christ has never been interpreted, understood or followed from a perspective of global health and sustainable development. Today more than ever before in any century of human civilization Jesus Christ of Nazareth remains a centerpiece of human race and the leader of the column of progress for governance, global health and leadership.

All parliaments that ever sat, kings that ever reigned, armies that ever marched, wonders that ever were built, have not affected the life of man upon this earth, as powerfully as, has that solitary life of Christ. The source of inspiration for global health practitioners must stem from here because the work there is to do is nothing short of God’s work on earth. Surrounded by misery, melancholy and mess, we need to pick up the broken pieces and get to work. We need to draw inspiration, when there is none, to inspire life when death surrounds, to infuse hope when despair blooms.

Throughout history, Christ offers many aspects which must inspire a global health professional. Some of them, I quote:

On healing:

What global health practitioners and medical doctors struggle to do today, was done 2000 years ago by Christ who walked this earth.

In Matthew 8:1-4 Jesus healed a man with leprosy and a large crowd of multitude followed him. In John 9:1-7 Jesus healed a blind man and in Mark 5: 25-34 he healed a woman with bleeding problems for 12 years.  I would interpret this healing built around faith, prayer and utmost submission to the divine, which my colleagues in the art of medicine with all wisdom will call placebo & unscientific. These accounts showcase Jesus’ compassion, commitment to serving others, both through miraculous healings and practical acts of kindness and service built to essentially inspire the human race for all of the ages. Miraculous healing continues to take place today for which medical doctors have no answer. Infact for many aspects of medicine, we don’t have any answer. There are more doctors today who believe in God than they believe in themselves or in the science they practice. But we are not called to heal the way Christ did, the learning out here for all of us is to draw inspiration on how global health must adapt a balanced view in development practices, how Low- and Middle-Income Countries must be supported with equity and how decolonization of global health must be inspired. COVID-19 also exposed vaccine partiality which Christ demonstrates how not too, be it a leper, a blind man or a woman with sickness.

The craft of global health must be focused on including everyone in the policy that stretches to the global north and global south, besides leaving no one behind.

On community service:

Global health is not about generating data using software or making sophisticated presentations to donors. It is a calling for community service at large. Much before the concept of global health was coined, Jesus Christ as we know in Matthew 14: 13-21 fed five thousand men and women and children. Likewise in Luke 10: 25-37, we learn that Jesus narrated how the Samaritan showed compassion on a man beaten and left to die on the side of the road, bandaged his wounds, took care of him demonstrating neighborly love. Likewise in John 13: 1-17, Christ showcased how we must serve each other by washing the feet of each other. With regard to healing, in Matthew 4:23-25 and Matthew 14: 34-36, Jesus engaged in miraculous healing throughout of Galilee, Gennesaret and other places which also spread to Syria, Samaria, Judea and other places.

These accounts demonstrate how Jesus inspired global health and public health through faith, commitment, power, compassion built in with acts of service, kindness and love, a tenet which global health today deeply stands in need of. The spectacle of human suffering today would be very different from what it was 2000 years ago when Jesus Christ crossed this earth. However our problems of global health still remain the same, which is of hunger, malnutrition, killings and rapes, wars, lack of sensitivity for another human being and much more.

I would urge you to take a closer look at how people died in COVID-19, before that with Ebola, SARS and MERS and much before that with AIDS. Suffering is a derivative of Christian genealogy where the human experience is closely linked to the passion of Christ. However, the singular feature marking a Christian life is how suffering gets converted to redemption which global health actors are called to execute and understand.

With modernity drawing a blur around redemptive suffering, global health practitioners have a role to look at life through compassion which paves way to salvation in many ways. Global health actors have managed to carefully sanitize suffering in some places in a very small way, however romantic global health diplomacy calls for structured inspiration built on protected corridors of faith and the phenomenon called Jesus Christ.

The limitation of Global Health and why Christ must inspire

People die because of preventable deaths; a promising life is often cut short because of human fallacy. Global health leaders know very well that we cannot do everything, which means we must do something and at least do that well, no matter in how much hurry we can be. It also tells us how marked with limitations, we must allow the grace of God to seep in, to do the rest of the work aligned with faith.

The environment in which global health champions operate today is marked by toxicity, war, pollution, confrontation, trust deficits, decline in human values, quality of life and rising geopolitical imbalance besides ecological asymmetry. Operating in this environment, calls for intrinsic courage to meet aspirations of social justice and human good. Christ inspires for this very reason. He faced roman oppression, he faced uncalled-for accusations and he embraced a death on a cross, built through the mockery of a trial. The battle for humanity’s soul can still be conquered, but with Christ by our side.

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