Loving Our Neighbors in the World of Global Health 

June 21, 2022

Sometimes, we read Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” as something that motivates us to be kind to people around us. It’s easy to hear these words as instructions for each of us as individuals. Working in global health, however, we are challenged to think more broadly. When we consider Christ’s words in this context, we have to move beyond person-to-person acts of kindness and consider bigger  questions:

  • What care do we want for ourselves when we’re sick?
  • Who among our local or global “neighbors” lacks that care?
  • How can we be part of solutions so these neighbors are valued and loved the way we want to be?
Health assessments ALM

Erica lives in a remote are of Ghana. Your support for ALM means children like her can get the care they need!

At American Leprosy Missions, this desire to love our neighbors emerges in our integral mission, informing how we pursue healing and whole lives for people affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like leprosy. We are committed to breaking down barriers that prevent afflicted people from living whole lives, creating pathways to true healing and renewed hope.

We love our neighbors by building community knowledge about NTDs, as in our Faith Leaders Project with IME Kimpese Hospital in DR Congo. We love our neighbors by ensuring that health workers are trained to care for people affected by NTDs—with your support, we have completed training for more than 4,300 people since July 2021.

Health assessments ALM

ALM’s Board of Directors and U.S. staff members celebrating the Declaration signing in May 2022.

And, this summer, we love our neighbors by joining dozens of organizations and governments around the world in signing the Kigali Declaration: a new public commitment to fighting NTDs. 

On June 23, all these commitments will be celebrated at the Kigali Summit in Rwanda as the global health community anticipates the next decade of working to end these terrible diseases. ALM’s three commitment areas are leprosy research, including testing the first leprosy-specific vaccine, LepVax; integrating NTDs management and care into national health systems, and supporting our partners to deliver early care and equip people affected to live whole lives. 

In proclaiming the greatest commandments, Jesus showed that love is the goal of our work, our purpose, our lives. To love God and love our neighbors, to love God by loving our neighbors, is the whole point. When we start with this love as the motivation for all levels of our work, from international declarations to individual home visits, we are changing the world to embody more and more of God’s Kingdom.