Health merits and demerits of religious fasting

Posted on May 09, 2024

In April of 2024, the Religion Studies Department in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria, through its Oxford Centre for Religion, Public Life and Security in Africa, hosted a public lecture with Dr Daniel Orogun centered around the topic ‘Health merits and demerits of religious fasting’.

In Dr Orogun’s own words, “On account of the global pursuit of Good Health and Well-being (UN SDG Goal 3), efforts are ongoing to achieve universal health coverage, better the lives of people and ensure improved economies, given that healthy and happy people are the foundation for healthy economies. In this endeavour, the increase in high demand and low supply of healthcare requires a logical decision to take improved healthcare research beyond the exclusive responsibility of health professionals, thus the need for an interdisciplinary approach under which religion and healthcare falls. Consequently, this presentation focused on the Health implications of fasting in African Christianity and African Traditional Religion”. With Digital Ethnography and interaction with robust literature, Dr Orogun discussed the health merits, demerits, and implications for public health in Africa.

Daniel Orogun is a Senior Postdoc Fellow at the University of Pretoria and a Visiting Professor at the University of Victoria in Canada. Daniel's current research focuses on bridging the gap between high healthcare demand and low supply. He sees spirituality as a key factor in health, drawing on his background in religion, healthcare, and business. With training from Duke, Edinburgh, Harvard, and Pretoria Universities, he combines educational skills, Indigenous knowledge, spiritual care, and compassion science with healthcare management. His research areas include naturopathic healing, trauma (kidnapping, post-delivery, and immigration), the link between greed and leadership, workplace stress impacting service delivery and related spirituality and healthcare topics. 

The public lecture delivered by Dr Orogon, in Centenary Hall of the Theology Building on the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria, was well attended both onsite and online, providing those fortunate enough to participate new perspectives on so important a topic as the convergence of personal faith and personal well-being.

The same topic will be presented at the School of Divinity, the University of Edinburgh on 21 May 2024; a testament to the fact that the topic is gaining global acceptance.

- Author Daniel Orogun and Dana Mahan

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