The COVID-19 experience offers fresh perspectives about religious roles in public health and in broader efforts to promote human well-being. Public health officials have understood and engaged with religious factors during the COVID-19 emergencies with greater awareness of their actual and potential significance than in the past (benefitting notably from prior experience with Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and other epidemics). However, COVID-19 responses reflect significant gaps in knowledge and dialogue among the parties concerned. Without clear strategies and prior knowledge and relationships, inherent threats and opportunities linked to religious-public health interactions can be missed. The COVID-19 experience thus offers insights and lessons for religious engagement in future pandemic preparedness and response. This working paper by Katherine Marshall and Olivia Wilkinson, published as part of the Religious Responses to COVID-19 project, highlights major themes observed so far at the two-year point of the pandemic.
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