David Lean Reflects on 2019's World Health Day Theme

Originally appearing in the Anglican Church Southern Queensland’s Online FOCUS news, David Lean (as the family prepares to leave for PNG this week) reflects on this year’s World Health Day theme. Wonderful Gospel-hearted reflections! See the full article link at the bottom.

Why should World Health Day’s focus on universal health coverage matter to you? In short – because it matters to God. Because God cares about the broken, the sick and the lonely.

Just a few kilometres separate the northernmost Australian islands in the Torres Strait from the Papua New Guinea (PNG) mainland. Papua New Guineans struggle with some of the most significant health needs in the world – yet are so often forgotten by their nearest neighbours. Surely when Jesus commanded his followers to love their neighbours as themselves, he had the people of PNG in mind.

For many in PNG, access to health care is often impossible. Rugged terrain and a developing world economy are a poor combination for any health care, let alone good health care. It’s perhaps then not surprising that PNG has such substantial health needs. About one in every 20 women in PNG will die as a result of pregnancy complications. A similar ratio of children will not live to reach five years of age. PNG was declared polio-free in 2000, but in 2018 this dreaded disease re-emerged.

Yet, as important as healthcare is – the ultimate needs of the people of PNG, are the same as the needs of the people of Queensland. God’s diagnosis for us all is our sinful state before Him. In God’s eyes, there is no difference between a 16-year-old girl from the Hewa tribe in remote PNG and a 65-year-old farmer from Chinchilla. He made us equal. Our sin is equal. He loves us equally, and he showed this by sending Jesus – to live, die and rise again – for us!

For those of us privileged to serve in healthcare professions, we ought to provide the best care we possibly can. We ought to be knowledgeable, safe, caring and servant-hearted. Yet, as we serve our neighbours and strive to meet their needs – whether in Australia, PNG or anywhere else – it is vital that we do not forget that even the very best healthcare provides just a temporary reprieve. At some stage or another, we all share the same destiny on this earth – death. Thankfully though, we worship a life-giving God. We must show Christ in our actions, and as able – tell the Good News of what He has done. Only this medicine can truly save.