Health programming has been a focus of UNICEF’s work since its founding. The agency has made great strides in immunization, the provision of oral rehydration to save the lives of infants with severe diarrhoea, promoting and protecting breastfeeding, and developing appropriate and effective health education. UNICEF has an extensive global health presence and strong partnerships with governments and NGOs, including religious organizations, at national and community levels.

Why partner with religious communities for health?

Nearly every major religious tradition views life as a sacred gift from a divine creator or creating force(s). Promoting and maintaining good health in children is not only a universal priority but also a religious obligation.

Many religious communities directly provide health-care services, ranging from small community clinics to large hospitals, which often emphasize pre-natal, newborn and children’s health services.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa. . .faith-based facilities provide up to 70% of the region’s health care . . . . In other parts of the world, FBOs manage 10–30% of national health sectors.” 

What can religious communities do to promote child health?

Additional resources on Health



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