Thursday, September 25, 2014

Medical 1 of 3: Why Medical Camps?

Some people may wonder why we lead mobile medical and dental clinics into the mountains. After all, our work’s main focus is not to provide medical and dental care to the people who live in the high valleys. Nobody on our team has a medical or dental background. So why do we do this kind of work? Let me start off by saying our number one goal is to see fellowships started and hearts changed. Actually, it’s more that just our number one goal, its the only goal. It’s the reason we left our homes and families. The reason we raise up teams of doctors, nurses, and dentists and lead them into the high valleys to conduct mobile clinics is two-fold: First, it is impossible for us to speak to the spiritual need and neglect the many physical needs. Secondly it provides our team with a “platform” to work from and a reason to spend time in a restricted area that the high valleys are located in. The situation in the area that we work in is slowly changing for the better, but the physical needs are still great. There are no roads into the area. Because of its remote nature, the whole area is largely neglected by the government. There are no hospitals and no doctors for several days’ walk in any direction. Because of that, the infant mortality rate is at 50%. Yes, half of the children born in the high valleys don’t make it to the age of two. Additionally 1 in 7 women die during child birth. Those statistics break our hearts. When I first read them, I couldn’t believe it, but when we ask mothers in the village how many children they have, they always tell us both the number of children they have given birth to and the number of children that have survived. It’s not just a statistic to the families—they live with it everyday. The good news is that in the past three years six local people have been trained in nursing and are serving their own villages. They are each supported by different non-governmental organizations. Each of them has completed the 10th grade and then completed a 3-year training course in nursing. Their training is limited, but we have had the opportunity to further some of their training and better equip them by having doctors from the outside work alongside them. Many of the nurses have been trained as skilled birth attendants. Some research that our team helped conduct last year will hopefully lead to a better infant vaccination program. We want to see hearts changed. We believe hearts changed will lead to less promiscuity which will lead to fewer STDs which will lead to healthy mothers and babies. At the same time we feel called to put our faith into action.