The impact of faith-healing Pentecostal churches on health and well-being among health-seekers in Ndola, Zambia.
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This study, which lies within the ARHAP ongoing research on the interface between religion and public health, examined the impact of Faith-Healing Pentecostal Churches on health and well-being among health-seekers in Ndola, Zambia. The study involved a self-administered questionnaire answered by 100 Faith-Healing Pentecostal Church worshippers in Ndola over a period of 4 weeks. Based on the data analysis and interpretation it was found that these churches have grown rapidly in Zambia and that many people are turning to them for their healing and well-being. There are several factors that are contributing to the rapid growth of Faith-Healing Pentecostal Churches and these range from socio-economic problems to the impact of diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis on households, due to the poor health provision in most government health centres in Ndola. The study notes that people attend Faith-Healing Pentecostal Churches because these churches provide a home for people in need of social networks which enable them to have a sense of identity, belonging and purpose amidst their day-to-day socio-economic challenges. It was therefore evident from the research that Faith-Healing Pentecostal Churches are addressing huge socio-economic needs in people's lives within a context of poverty, unemployment and the burden of sicknesses and diseases, and can rightly be understood as a Religious Health Asset. These findings also provide the context for four important insights into a contemporary and contextual theology of health and healing. Based on the findings of this study, this dissertation offers a number of challenges to public health policy makers and church leaders to take serious the interface between religion and public health, and to also take seriously the contribution that Faith-Healing Pentecostal Churches are making to health and well-being in Ndola, Zambia. When these two issues are taken seriously, it would help to address issues of health and well-being in communities, based on people's religious convictions and understanding of health, healing and well-being.
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