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The practices and perceptions of religious health assets in Lesotho : a study of mission aviation fellowship.

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This study was a part of a baseline research within ARHAP on going studies into the relationship between religion and public health. It examined the nature and function of Religious Health Assets that were identified through the activities of Mission Aviation Fellowship- Lesotho; an FBO providing aircraft transport to the Lesotho Flying Doctor Services (LFDS). The basic finding was the critical role FBOs activities play in the provision of health care in Lesotho. The study drew from 6 open-ended narrative interviews by key informants who contributed to the Home Based Care Project (HBCP) facilitated by MAF and the fieldwork research of 3 one week stays in the remote mountain villages of Lesotho based at different Health Care Centres where MAF has HBCPs over a period of nine months. The analysis revealed that FBOs occupy a crucial role in the delivery of Health care in Lesotho. The networks that FBOs align themselves with can be trans-national, tapping into RHAs that beneficiaries would otherwise have no access to. The ubiquity of religion in African livelihoods was confirmed to be an important factor in how Basotho engage health provision and seeking strategies. The mobilisation of community members for voluntary participation in maintaining community well being drew the agency of some members which seems to tap into the altruistic values of ‘ubuntu’ and ‘sense of community’. The concepts encompassed in bophelo healthworlds offered us insights into the symbiotic strategies necessary to tackle the multi-faceted health challenges facing developing countries. An integrated approach that draws from the holistic constructs offered in indigenous conceptions of being can be utilised to significantly transform our praxis in religion and public health. The dissertation confirmed ARHAP’s notions that assets and capacities need alignment within and among the different stake holders to harness the various factors for maximum benefit. The development and maintenance of well being in developing countries has been critically deficient in the face of challenges posed by civil wars, bad governance and HIV and AIDS. Health care providers are thus called to not only effectively implement their planned programmes, but to re-visit the structures, policies and ideologies that influence them.


Thesis (M.Th.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2010.