Allan Samuel Palanna
Department of Theology and Ethics, United Theological College, Bangalore
Faith in the Time of a Pandemic: Health Justice and Faith Communities
Faith-based organizations are crucial agents of change. However, any crisis opens up a gash in the otherwise ordinary religious lives of communities and tests the premise of wellbeing and the commitment to service of faith-based organizations.
A pandemic globalizes the health crisis and exposes the underbelly of health injustice in public health care of the modern State masquerading as a Welfare State. The increase in the out-of-pocket expenses and the privatization of most provisions of health care in countries has furthered the already deteriorating health care reeling under heavy cuts in budgetary provisions. There is a dire need to pragmatically evaluate the ethics of private health care where faith-based organizations are historically known to ‘deliver’ health care services.
Harcourt contends that the spirituality of members of faith organizations acts as a vital source of commitment and motivation 1 in organizing communities. The interface of faith-based organizations and the health services delivery system is both problematic and hopeful. What faith-based organizations and communities can offer to the public health care discourse during the pandemic and measures to be taken for recurring health crises needs to be discerned.