, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 181-189

Equity and resource allocation in health care: Dialogue between Islam and Christianity

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Abstract

Inequities in health and health care are one of the greatest challenges facing the international community today. This problem raises serious questions for health care planners, politicians and ethicists alike. The major world religions can play an important role in this discussion. Therefore, interreligious dialogue on this topic between ethicists and health care professionals is of increasing relevance and urgency. This article gives an overview on the positions of Islam and Christianity on equity and the distribution of resources in health care. It has been written in close collaboration and constant dialogue between the two authors coming from the two religions. Although there is no specific concept for the modern term equity in either of the two religions, several areas of agreement have been identified: All human beings share the same values and status, which constitutes the basis for an equitable distribution of rights and benefits. Special provisions need to be made for the most needy and disadvantaged. The obligation to provide equitable health services extends beyond national and religious boundaries. Several areas require intensified research and further dialogue: the relationship between the individual and the community interms of rights and responsibilities, how to operationalize the moral duty to decrease global inequalities in health, and the understanding and interpretation of human rights in regard to social services.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.