For generations, mission organizations have included health care as a way of continuing the ministry of Jesus who healed the sick. However, in time, newly independent nations in Africa started taking control of mission schools and hospitals, and some church people in Europe and North America felt this work was no longer a responsibility of churches.
Hospitals that were once supported by church missions now experienced decline in personnel and supplies. Decades of such decline resulted in no money to replace old and deteriorating equipment. At a conference in Kenya in 1986, doctors and dentists came together to begin talking about a possible solution. This group concluded that for financial reasons, they should consider forming a nonprofit organization separate from the church, which could raise and administer its own funds. Global Health Ministries (GHM) was the result. In 1987 GHM was formed in Bloomington, Minnesota, as an organization that would not be related to any specific Lutheran church but should offer support to any Lutheran group that sponsored medical work overseas.
The purpose of GHM was to be an arm of support for existing agencies, enabling them to carry out their work more fully. It would provide funds for overseas Lutheran health care projects, gather and ship medical supplies and equipment, aid in recruitment of long and short-term health care workers and promote interest in health care ministries within congregations. Since the founding of GHM, increasing emphasis has been placed on primary health care in rural areas, under the leadership of local people, and also on providing training for doctors, nurses and other health care workers. In recent years Global Health Administration Partners was launched, the consulting arm of GHM. Read more about their origins here.
Today Global Health Ministries is a grassroots network of people that provides financial and material support as well as consulting to Lutheran healthcare programs in developing countries. Together we build partnerships that help ensure access to quality health care for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
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