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Christians and Public Health

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble
The Truth Network Radio
August 24, 2023 7:49 pm

Christians and Public Health

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble

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August 24, 2023 7:49 pm

Christians and Public Health

Steve talks to Dr. Bernard Kadio from BJU Seminary about his mission's work providing health care to people in Africa.

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The following program is recorded content created by And now, here's your host, Steve Noble.

Welcome back. Hope you're having a great day. It is Theology Thursday as it is every week. I'll start by triggering you. I mentioned this the other day, and this will take us into our topic. I've never done this topic before. On Theology Thursday, I've never done it. We've touched on it, especially a couple years ago.

We talked about it a lot. So, if you want me to just trigger you to get you going, then there's an increasing number of articles. I referenced a couple of them the other day.

There's Lionsgate Studios out in Hollywood. There's a historical black college and university down in the Georgia area that have reinstituted mask mandates. Mask mandates relative to COVID-19. So, when I say COVID-19, do you think public health? Do you think politics? Do you think Fauci?

Do you think Wuhan? Where do you go with that? And so, the general topic today as we discuss kind of a Christian perspective on public health, we're going to dive into this so that we can calibrate the way we look at all these issues. Not through a political lens, not through an American lens, but what we're trying to do is look at it through a Christian lens, including something like public health. So, I'm excited about this topic today and, like I said, have never gone down this road before. But really excited to welcome Dr. Bernard Caddeo, who's an MD and a PhD. He is the program director of the Public Health Institute down in Greenville at Bob Jones University. We're also going to talk about some health initiatives he is involved in back in Africa.

He's a native of West Africa himself, spent some time freezing to death up in Canada, and then moved down to Greenville, South Carolina. Dr. Bernard Caddeo, welcome to the show, man. How are you? I'm doing well. It's good to be here.

It's great to have you here. I detect my sense is that that accent is not South Carolinian, that it's a little bit east of there. So, you were born and raised in West Africa, is that right? Yes, I was born and raised in the Ivory Coast, West Africa, a French-speaking country. And I got saved at age 15 and went to med school, graduated, studied in France, taught in Ottawa, Canada, and ended up here in Greenville, South Carolina at Bob Jones University. And growing up in the Ivory Coast, in a French-speaking country, was English kind of a part of your education, starting when you were young? I mean, you speak really well.

Thank you. Well, the Ivorian system, education system, requires students to have seven years of English. But I also have to say that after my salvation, I have been around some missionaries from the U.S., and that has helped with the English. And then why did you choose to pursue a career in medicine? I think it's when I got saved, one of the first messages that I heard after my salvation was about serving the Lord and to ask the Lord what we wanted to do for him.

So, I was praying and I saw medicine as a way, a very powerful instrument to serve God. And this is what has been over the years. Yeah. And I'm sure that's been your experience all along the road. Exactly. Yeah.

So we'll unpack kind of that from a 30,000-foot level. Obviously, we're going to talk about it from a Christian perspective. But like I said, this is largely a Christian audience, largely conservative politically. And when you say public health, I think a lot of people immediately think the health care system in America, which will be a part of our conversation. But help us, Bernard, kind of just get our minds around a good definition of public health and understanding what it is and what it isn't.

OK. Well, I have to say that over the last few years, it has been the huge controversy about public health and the definition of public health in itself. It's very, very simple. It's what we as a society, we do to assure conditions for the entire community to be healthier. It's that simple. So it's a community effort coming together and put together resources so that the entire society can move from a stage of poor health to another stage of better health.

The entire society. Yeah. Simply put, this is how we can define public health. Yeah. And it kind of reminds me of that old saying, a rising tide lifts all boats.

So we're trying to affect an entire community disease prevention, health promotion. That's all that's all part of that. But but has it been frustrating? Bernard is somebody that was called to it. God enabled you to do it.

You've been doing it for his glory and to minister to his creation. That being us has it has it been frustrating in the American context to kind of see how it's this is primarily usually a political conversation. Oh, I have to have to agree. I have to agree that I was I was surprised because public health. At one point, you come out with solutions and it belongs to the politicians to implement those solutions. So there is a political component to public health, but it's a non-partisan discipline. So public health by nature is not I mean, is not for the left or for the right, for Republicans, for Democrats. Public health by nature has no political connotation, but the actions of public health require input from the political segment of society. And from the Christian perspective, it's it's clear that the mandate of the government, as appointed by God himself, is to ensure that we have rules and regulations with the intent to protect human life. So it's so yes, there is some functions that are devoted to the government, but also in doing so, governments should do it in such a way that individual freedoms are also respected. So there is a fine balance. But yes, public health by nature is not political. It's not partisan if we use some political tools like regulations. But by nature, public health is a discipline.

Yeah. So we'll we'll work through that because this is a mostly a very political audience, myself included. So we need to understand from a Christian perspective what we're talking about, which is human flourishing because every human human being is made the image of God. But we'll look at the history of it because there's been some amazing, amazing achievements of public health, obviously, over the years. And then we'll push forward from there. We'll be right back. Welcome back to Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show. If you we love being on the radio, I appreciate all our radio partners, of course. But one thing that you should know, if you're if you only catch the show on the radio or the podcast, if you can ever go over to the Facebook page, which is just under The Steve Noble Show or on Rumble, you can go to Rumble.

You don't have to have an account or anything. Go watch it. It's public and catch the video, because while the commercials are running on radio, we can have additional conversations today with Dr. Bernard Caddeo, who is was born and raised in West Africa, ended up in Canada, is a French speaker and then came to the U.S. in twenty nineteen and is down at Bob Jones University in the School of Health Professions, which they have an incredible. BJU has an incredible emphasis down there on the on the on the public health and the medical profession, nursing. The School of Nursing there is amazing. They have an amazing facility. So you don't that's not common to find a university environment that's committed to the word of God that also specializes and offers such incredible programs and health care. So BJU has that really amazing. When I went down there and toured the school a couple of years ago, I was amazed.

I'd never seen that at a Christian university before. And it was just awesome. So Dr. Bernard Caddeo is with us today and we're having additional conversation on the commercial break. So on radio, you missed that. On the podcast, you missed that.

But on Facebook and on Rumble, you'd be a part of that. And we're diving into some things as we talk about public health today. The show is not about covid-19 and the response that that's a that's an element of what we're talking about, because it's certainly an element of public health. But we're diving into that a little bit on the commercial break. So that's a great conversation.

We just had a five minute commercial break. I learned a ton from you, Bernard. So thank you for that.

It's just awesome. And so we're just going to keep working our way through this. But public health, again, you were offering up as a definition is what we as a society do collectively to assure conditions for the entire community to be healthier. That sounds like human flourishing to me. That sounds like love your neighbor as yourself. And that's obviously a calling from the Lord. And as we look back over the history of public health, I just had this conversation.

I teach a bunch of high school students every week. And we were we were talking about world history. And I said, hey, you guys ever been to a hospital, organized health care? Yeah.

Who do you have to think for that? I'm like, yeah, that would be us to be Christianity, largely organized health care, education, Western civilization. So let's let's look at this from a historical perspective, because it's really amazing.

The world is so much better now than it was even not that long ago because of effective public health. Did I lose you? Are you still there?

I'm here. Oh, yeah. So like historically, what like what as you look at this as a doctor and somebody that teaches public health, when you say, OK, let me show you some of the great advancements we've made in this realm.

What do you kind of point people to? Yeah. And and like there is over the last 200 years, actually. But even before that, there is a tremendous increase in the life expectancy of the human population in general, in general. And that increase in life expectancy can be credited to to public health.

Some diseases, for example, I have a variola, I have polio, whooping cough, cholera, malaria, yellow fever. Diseases that used to be what we call the scourge of mankind, right, have been either put under control and elimination and eradication and these two public efforts. And so actually, we another example is water and sanitation, for example.

Today, we have programs that are addressing water and sanitation and you can put very, very at the basic level areas in the world where they are struggling with water and sanitation are going to be areas in the world where we see a very low life expectancy, especially in children. So today, the debate about public health is not too much about its usefulness, but it's about probably its implication and kind of the interaction between the public health protocols and the impact on individual freedoms, for example. But most widely, public health itself is known as being beneficial to society.

And from a Judeo-Christian perspective, actually, it goes even not just 200 years ago, it goes way before that. The mosaic law, for example, mosaic laws have some public health measures embedded in them like isolation of lepers, management of human cadavers, for example. Those are public health measures. So the Judeo-Christian culture is very well positioned to understand and to embrace public health.

And actually, I've been doing this for 20 years, Steve. I can tell you that where the Judeo-Christian culture has spread, three major things have happened that have impacted life expectancy that have empowered public health. The first one is a better understanding of the value of human life from zero to 120 and over. A better understanding of human life.

That's the first thing. The second thing, it's a better understanding of time. Outside the Judeo-Christian worldview, time is seen as a cyclical reality.

It's a cycle. But the Judeo-Christian culture comes in and say, no, time is linear. There is a beginning of time.

There is an end of time. And the third change is a better understanding of the environment, of space, as a mean to provide to the basic human needs. And those three together are the few that makes public health run. So the Judeo-Christian culture in itself is really conducive of public health because when we understand that the human value, human life has value, then the vaccine, for example, or a treatment, for example, is no more reserved to the royalty. It can be spread to the entire benefit of all the people, all the humans. That's the reason of human life. Exactly. And when we understand, for example, that the environment, space, is there to meet our basic needs, then we can go and change and modify that environment and make it in the way that it serves us rather than us serving that environment. And this is where you see water and sanitation programs. This is where you see management of space programs that are going to contribute to the health of the people.

Yeah, yeah. That makes perfect sense. And that's why, as Christians, that's why it's important to know history, which is what we were just talking about, and the impact on the world of the Judeo-Christian ethic going all the way back to the Mosaic law. And a lot of people look at that and go, oh, gosh, I mean, like, what's the point of the whole shellfish thing and the leopard thing and this thing and that thing? Public health for human flourishing and the sanctity of human life.

That's the point. And that originated with us, us being Christianity. Hold on right there, Bernard.

We're going to come right back after this. Welcome back to Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show, talking about public health today, which is a lot of areas of human civilization and flourishing that as Christians, you should be quite comfortable, ready, willing and able to plant a flag there and look at the rest of the world and go, OK, everybody, you should probably thank the Lord for this aspect of life on Earth. And this is certainly one of them. The epicenter of God's love for us is his care for us and the desire to see human flourishing. And that's where public health comes in.

And it goes all the way back to the Mosaic law. We're talking to Dr. Bernard Caddeo today, who teaches down at BJU and was serving in medicine up in Canada, originally from the Ivory Coast in Africa. And it's such a great topic. And I really appreciate you leading the conversation today. Bernard, thank you so much for your time.

Oh, thank you. So let's touch on this, because I know people will want to. Let's use what happened with COVID-19 as an example of where public health, I think from most people's perspectives, can really go south. It can become political.

We were talking about this on the break earlier in the show about trust and expert opinion. So from a Christian public health perspective, what kind of let's just keep it in America. What grade would you give America with respect to its response to COVID-19? Since you're a teacher, give us a grade, teacher. How did America do with COVID-19?

We did very, very poorly. Is that a D or is that an F? It's a D. Yeah. Okay. All right. All right.

So a little grace and a little mercy there. So to kind of unpack that, because even right to the origins of it, one of the things you were saying on the commercial break earlier was this whole notion of transparency that because public health, you mentioned this earlier, that you have to earn the trust of the people. And then you brought up that phrase that all of us have heard so many times with respect to COVID now, expert opinion. And you told me something that I wasn't aware of because I hear expert opinion.

I'm like, oh, I guess we can build a house on that. But that's actually incorrect. So just from a Christian public health perspective, just unpack a little bit, just right from the origins of COVID, how did that earn its D?

Yes. One key element in the public health enterprise and in any public health exercise, for that matter, is trust. Trust from the community, and that trust is not given.

That trust has to be earned, and it's earned through a process and the process of transparency. And that transparency comes from the use of what we call evidence. And not the use of expert opinion in public health, and it should be clear to all of us that in public health, expert opinions are the lowest level of evidence.

Actually, we don't use them. It's a starting point to go to higher levels of evidence. So if you are going to build a pandemic response based on expert opinion, that's not going to work. And that is exactly what we witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic. And also, it should be known that there is, the world has, especially in the public health realm, we have a very good understanding of pandemics. This is not the first pandemic in human history. We have had pandemic all over our history.

So we know how to respond. It might be a new pathogen, a new germ, but it doesn't change the response, actually, to the way we respond. And so the origin of the virus was not clear to begin. And the timing of the virus was not clear to the public.

We have indications that it started way earlier during the fall, actually. And it was even announced by World Health Organization. And when people see that, there is a breach in the trust and that breach in the trust followed us all along with pandemic management. Another big problem is that public health is concerned with vulnerable communities. It's very rare for public health to have universal measures. That's a great point. That's very, very rare. And actually, in public health history, we don't have an account where universal mandate for everybody to abide by.

We don't have a record of that. We have some examples here and there, but it was not in cases of pandemic. So public health is very surgical in its approach. Who is at risk?

And you protect those who are at risk. Yeah, and that's why we had all those conversations about the older population. One portion of the population nobody wanted to talk about because we have such a huge problem with it in America, not to be ironic, is obese people over weight people.

There were people with, right. And so it was like, instead of looking at 340 million people, we probably should be looking at 50 million. Exactly. And you have countries who did it and did it well, actually. And because it backfires when you have universal measures, because at that point, people are going to question your real intentions.

Yeah, and question we did. And unfortunately, this is what happened. And when they start questioning your intentions, then that breach in trust, that trust contract that is between the public health professionals and the community at large, that breach is broken. And it takes years and years and years to rebuild. Yeah, and in this case, it was so bad. I don't know that that can ever be brought back to where it was.

I certainly hope it can. But again, trust has to be earned and transparency has to be obvious and consistent. And we didn't have all that. Let's switch to the other side of the coin and start working through how should Christians approach public health.

We're talking about what wasn't done well, which is obvious. But there's kind of five points here, Bernard, I'd love to focus on for the remainder of the show. And how should Christians approach public health?

I'll just set these up and then you kind of unpack them. This is all obviously from a Judeo-Christian perspective. But number one, Christian public health is hope-centered. So what do you mean by that? Well, the public health project is not about scaring people.

It isn't? No, it's not about scaring people. It's about restoration. It's about giving people, telling people that there is a vicious cycle there that has created some despair in the population. And that despair is killing even more than disease. So public health is about telling people, listen, there is hope first. And from a Christian perspective, that's one of the core elements of Christian public health, is to go in places and help communities to realize that there is hope. There is hope. We call it horizontally by doing actions in the community that can bring hope. But there is also hope vertically through the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. So it's about hope.

And if you don't take that action, then you are restoring hope. And you are leaving the community to what is called natural selection. Only the strongest survive. And to be honest with you, even Charles Darwin himself would not be willing to live in a society where only the strongest are the ones who survive.

No, because sooner or later somebody stronger than Charles is going to come along. Exactly. Exactly. So the Christian public health is first centered on hope and restoring hope, telling those people who have been traumatized by disease, a matter like high maternal mortality in areas of Africa, for example, going in those communities and telling them, listen, we can do something about it. You bring hope with you.

That's so beautiful. And then the second point, Christian public health is holistic. So what do we mean by that? Holistic means comprehensive. We do not.

We do not. Health is a very dimensional reality. We have mental, we have physical, we have body, we have spiritual. And a good Christian health program should incorporate all those dimensions.

Yeah. And that this comes with a certain humility. And that's a key increase in public in Christian based public health. Humility to recognize that we we contact public health with other disciplines.

We call it multi discipline narrative. We bring other people with us to work together so that we can address the physical needs as well as the emotional needs, as well as the spiritual needs of the people, because this is all together that contribute to the health of communities. And I think your physical and emotional.

Yeah. And that's such an important point that on the mental part of that, because as you look across the American landscape, we're going to hit a break here in just a second. As we look across the American landscape, whether we're talking about suicide, we're talking about issues of gender, we're talking about gun violence. So much of that is driven by mental health. So we will we'll largely focus on the physical, ignore the mental.

And you end up with bad physical as well. We're talking to Dr. Bernard Caddeo. He's at the School of Health down at Bob Jones University.

We'll be right back. Welcome back at Steve Noble, the Steve Noble Show Theology Thursday, as it is every week with our friends at usually BJU Seminary down at Bob Jones and then occasionally with our friends at Bob Jones University, all right there in the same location. That's what we're doing today with Dr. Bernard Caddeo. He is at Bob Jones University School of Health Professions, born and raised in the Ivory Coast, ended up in Canada for a little while and then came down to Greenville, South Carolina in 2019 and joined. And it's teaching been teaching at BJU ever since. He's also involved in a project we're going to talk about here in just a couple of minutes. That'll be a great example of what we're talking about today. Public health, a Christian perspective on public health. It's called the Hope Christian Health Center planning to open next year.

It's on the Ivory Coast in Africa, West Africa. So we'll talk about that as kind of a culmination. We're working through these four points.

And again, Bernard, thank you for your time. We're working through these four points. How should Christians approach public health?

Actually, there's five. So the first one we said Christian public health is hope centered. That should touch your heart as a believer. Christian public health is holistic. It's not just physical. It's mental, social, obviously spiritual as well.

And then this one I love. Point number three, Bernard. Christian public health is based on respect for human dignity from zero to a hundred and twenty years old and beyond. Really, the whole range, because the sanctity of human life just demands that of us. Exactly.

Exactly. And we do not and we cannot and we should never discuss about human dignity. And historically, whenever humans have tried to trade human dignity with anything else, we have failed. And we have failed in a way that has destroyed other humans because human dignity comes from God. We it comes from the fact that we are bearing the image of God. And this is where we have our human dignity from.

And we say from age zero, from all across the spectrum, hundred and twenty years and even beyond. This is to say that public health is not a way to control communities or to promote some cultural superiority on communities. But actually, we as public health professionals, we have to identify with the communities that we serve. We work with the community so that the community can reach its highest potential. And I see a flourishing human life in the community. And we do this with respect to the community. Right.

And that respect implies that we give we we give a community resources and ways and the instrument so that the community can be self-supported at one point. Yeah, it does. A good public health does not create a dependence, not a nanny state.

It's like, yeah, it's. And again, you're having to empower people for human flourishing, which is what God wants for us. Exactly. And that notion of identification is key, because if you do not identify with the people that you serve, you are not actually doing good public health. Especially not from a Christian perspective. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Such a great point. Fourth point, Christian public health is evidence based.

You touched on this when we were talking about what went on with covid-19. But again, evidence based, meaning things that are true. We serve a God of truth.

Jesus came to testify to the truth. And so we're all about truth. It's not about power. It's not about politics. It's not about expert opinions.

It's always going to be evidence based because evidence based actually takes you to the truth. Absolutely. And Christians should never be afraid of science because science serves the Bible. Yeah. True science serves the Bible. Yeah, that's right.

Well, I've often said with that, I'm like, science is just the revelation of the genius of God. That's all it is. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And so, yeah. And so and Christians should not, of course, all our projects should be done and conducted with prayers and and all the good intentions and everything that we can do.

But it doesn't it doesn't allow us not to use good, high quality evidence. Right. Right. So basically, we do not go in the community and say, oh, we do this and we pray and hope that it's going to work. Right.

This is not Christian based public health. Yeah. We use high quality evidence. And are we know that it's going to work and we know why it's working or at least we know why it's not working. Yeah.

Yeah. But it's always based in the truth. And that's the epicenter of that. And then this last point, which will take us into the Hope Christian Health Center, is Christian public health is an outreach exercise. It's about, as you wrote, touching those that nobody wants to touch, seeing those nobody sees to make manifest to them the benefits of incarnation. That means Christ in us and the benefits of everything that our world has to offer to protect life, to prolong life and to and for the quality of life. So tell us about and that and that that is the backdrop. Bernard, tell us about the Hope Christian Health Center. This is, God willing, going to open next year on the Ivory Coast there in West Africa.

Yes. And this project was it was started some years ago when I was still back in the Ivory Coast practicing clinical medicine. I had the patient coming to see me with his two year old daughter and she came and she was very, very anemic. And I knew she would not she was she was not going to make it. And I tried everything I could. And unfortunately, we lost her. And till today, I still hear this scream, the cry of that man.

It was a cry of despair. And on my way back home, I was driving my car and I told the Lord in my prayer, I prayed for this man. And I said, Lord, please help us for this not to ever happen again. And this is this this is when the Hope Christian Health Center started. The vision started.

So when I moved here at Bob Johnson University, I shared that vision. And what is what what what is it about having a hospital that is going to be combined with a public health component? So we'll be seeing patients, but also we'll be going in communities to prevent disease because this is where this is begin.

And this is where we can stop it. But we'll also have a hospital component. And actually, Hope Christian Health Center is the first of its kind to combine both clinical care and public health together. And I will like it because this is going to be probably one of the most powerful way to care for the people physically, mentally, socially, and most importantly, spiritually. Yeah, it's such an incredible opportunity, especially when you're in an area that's really lacked that for a long time. And to walk in there and to do that in the name of the Lord and especially with hope, which a lot of people don't experience that, whether you're in West Africa or you're in America.

A lot of people are living in hopelessness. By the way, I put links up to the website on Facebook Live and Rumble. But for those of you on radio or the podcast, it's just Hope Christian Health Care Center, Hope Christian Health Center dot org is the website. Hope Christian Health Center dot org. So it's looking like you guys will be able to open next year.

Bernard. Yes, sir. And the Lord has been providing and the project is open to all the brothers and sisters that are going to feel the call from the Lord to join us in this project. It's about demonstrating the love of Christ. It's about restoring hope. I can tell to our audience today that despair, the lack of hope is killing more than any disease that we can think of. And if we can be instruments in the hands of our Lord to help and tell the people there is hope for tomorrow. I think that we can make a difference.

I think that's one. And it's so well said. Thank you for sharing that. I think one of the things we we have to remember to your point, Bernard, is where there's despair and lack of hope. That actually does become psychosomatic. It's something that actually does affect physical, mental, emotional health. Absolutely. If you have despair and hopelessness, you're going to be unhealthy. Exactly. And I think sometimes we separate those two and go, oh, you're just having a bad day.

You're sad, you're down, whatever. But no, that that transfers into the rest of your body. It does. It does.

It does. This is why to this project, we are very excited. The Lord has been providing. But again, we still would like some brothers, some people to join us.

And it's our we have. We are anticipating actually seeing about 15000 patient every year. We are anticipating serving different communities in the area and the advocacy is between two countries. Ghana on the on the east side and Liberia on the west side. Our intent is to be able to spread and touch even communities in those different countries.

Yeah, that's so awesome. And again, the Web site and everybody can check that out if you have friends in the medical community. Obviously, there's funding needs. There's all kinds of ways to get involved and not the least of which would be prayer. Hope Christian Health Center Dot org is the Web site. Hope Christian Health Center Dot org. One last question for you, Bernard.

Then we're out of time. What what what's the most satisfying thing for you about being involved in in medicine? Oh, it's it's the smile of a mother. Wow. It's a it's a very, very is nothing that I would trade for the smile of a mother when she sees that the son is doing better. Yeah. When she sees that things are improving the smile of a mother. Yes.

As a as a father of four married to a mother of four. I think I know what you're talking about. That's such a beautiful answer. Thanks for sharing that. Bernard, hold on a second, because I'd like to pray for you and pray for the health center when we're on video.

We're about done on radio. But thank you so much, my friend, for doing this. Next time I'm down and down, I definitely would love to come by and see you. I want to connect you with a neurosurgeon friend of mine that's done work like this around the world.

And you just never know what what the Lord could do. So it's so awesome. Thank you again for your time.

This is Steve Noble, everybody on the Steve Noble show. God willing, I'll talk to you again real soon tomorrow. Yes, I'll talk about the debate tomorrow. So tune in then. And a few other things. And God willing, I'll talk to you then. And like my dad always used to say, ever forward. Another program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-26 21:18:53 / 2023-08-26 21:32:48 / 14

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