The March 10-11 seminar at Aizawl, Mizoram goaded Church to make sincere efforts to ameliorate health concerns and take preventive action to fight various 'communicable' and 'non-communicable' diseases that are extending unchecked in the region.
Organised by the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and the Christian Medical Association of India (CMAI), the discussion saw health experts and leaders of several mainline denominations ruminating on ways to improve healthcare and have Church play a 'healing role'.
"Cancer and the spread of HIV/AIDS present a daunting challenge in North East India. In addition to that are issues like cancer, human trafficking and drug abuse which sure is a worriment to entire Church here," says Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi of NCCI.
"It is high time Church come together and join hands with NGOs and government bodies to initiate programs and campaigns that educate our youths and help them take the right steps,” she adds. “Church denominations have great responsibilities to wholistic Health in our Mission of God."
In his address, Chief Minister of Mizoram, Lal Thanhawla, took serious note of cancer and said it posed a great threat to the people of North East.
"Christians are expected to be healthy and hardworking, the reality in Mizoram is the opposite. The number of missionaries we sent outside Mizoram does not make us known to the world. What makes us known is the number of cancer patients in our small state.
Asking Church to initiate awareness campaigns against tobacco consumption that is responsible for half of all the cancers in men, he said, "Christians are called to be holy, and to maintain this holiness we need to be cautious of what we eat and what we must abstain from."
Speaking on the occasion, Health and Family Welfare Minister Lalrinliana, urged Church to take the issue of HIV/AIDS with "great seriousness". "In fighting against HIV/AIDS sometimes the Church and NGOs make different approaches. On the controversy of 'Condom' as well church must be more understanding as the govt. and NGOs felt the need to promote the use of condoms for those who cannot resist having sex before marriage."
"Our land needs someone to care. The church is the most important and able body to take this task. Church must lend more support to the government and help in fighting such deadly diseases," he added.
The Aizawl seminar has called for "regular prayer" for HIV positives and in addition to that has asked "Evangelists to be messengers to such victims in isolation".
Furthermore, the participants also took note of human trafficking for which North East remains a hot-spot.
To fight this, they have asked Churches to "increase awareness, have a cell within the Church to address the issue and provide assistance to the victims."