For almost as long as The Salvation Army has existed, it has operated hospitals and clinics in some of the most needy areas of the world. That remains true today.
The Salvation Army’s medical services are most effective, influential and sustainable when they link to health-related community development, which gives local people – Salvationists and others – the opportunity to participate.
The international vision statement for health ministry:
- The Salvation Army seeks to be a significant participant in the delivery of faith-based, integrated, quality primary health care as close to the family as possible giving priority to poor and marginalised members of society. The Salvation Army offers education programmes that equip health workers with appropriate skills and experience as well as developing commitment to holistic Christian health ministry.
The Salvation Army works in 126 countries and in every country Salvationists respond to the health concerns in their communities through more than 15,000 churches (corps). In addition to church-based programmes, The Salvation Army currently has 183 health programmes in 39 countries, focusing on healthcare and the prevention of disease. These include 23 general hospitals and more than 150 clinics and health posts. Almost all of these include response to HIV/AIDS. At a conservative estimate, between seven and eight million people are specifically involved in community development responses. These care, support and prevention programmes are characterised by local community ownership.
The Salvation Army prioritises the following
- Maternal and Child Health,
- Infectious diseases,
- End-of-life care,
- Mental illness,
- Hypertension and heart disease.
We encourage local communities to respond to health issues, to increase their capacity to care, change and develop healthy communities and to have hope and a knowledge of the grace of God in Christ.
The International Health Services – part of the Programme Resources Department at The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters – supports and encourages the development of health services throughout the world where The Salvation Army operates, and influences the development of local and international partnerships.
The Salvation Army's first, tiny maternity home, opened in 1886 in Clapton, London.