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Progress: Of Health And Hope

The Medical Mercy team is wrapping up its last day of clinics in Ouanaminthe, a city on Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic. While the kids are sicker there than in Limbe and Cap Haitien, they are still progressing.
And so Dr. Beyda reflects on the final days of their work in this country:

We did what we came there to do: cholera education, nutritional assessment and rescue, and physical exams. We will have seen over 1600 children by the time the team leaves. Interesting how we go with expectations of things gone sour due to the cholera and come back with satisfaction knowing that all the preparation, intervention, and implementation of the prevention and education programs we put in place worked.

Things will move slowly in Haiti as it does in many countries that suffer a poor infrastructure, a government that is far from stable, and a physical country that is broken. I expect it to be many many years before we see significant changes overall. But – and this is the but that will make you smile – our Mission of Mercy children are far from that stagnant recovery. They are progressing at a fast rate, remaining healthy and growing. A few are outside the norm, but we identified them, and began efforts to begin moving them into the fold. 

Medical Mercy will go back. Not right away, but sometime. We’re headed to Ethiopia and Bangladesh later on this year. In the meantime, we’ve achieved a sense of “sustainability” of the medical care that the children need, the nutritional support they need, and the cholera education and prevention that they need. Sustainability. Leaving a process in place that ensures a long and healthy life, physically and spiritually.

That is the goal of both Medical Mercy and Mission of Mercy – transforming a child’s physical and spiritual life. Perhaps sustainability is an odd word to choose for our programs, but it is evident in all that Medical Mercy seeks to do. Because Medical Mercy is more than a medical team; it is an equipping ministry of health for our children.

Did you know that Medical Mercy also trains and equips our project staff to evaluate the health of a child, recognize common ailments and illnesses, and provide basic health care? While Dr. Beyda often sets up a referral program with a local hospital or clinic should a child need more specialized care, training these project workers often ensures that an intervention occurs before an illness becomes critical.

This moves our project staff into a crucial role – Dr. Beyda calls them Health Care Workers (HCW). Their initial training covers anatomy and physiology, physical examination skills, diagnosis and treatment for common conditions, and basic pharmacy.

That training is reinforced when a medical team arrives. They work side by side with our Medical Mercy team members. They may work as translators, but they also offer a different level of hope for a child’s parent – namely that their child’s care won’t end when the medical team leaves.

That is a ministry in and of itself to a community, and the impact continues to grow. Last year, a Medical Mercy team went to Kenya and worked alongside HCWs who were trained the year before. By the end of the week, the Health Care Workers were all but running the clinic themselves. In 2011, Medical Mercy will travel to Ethiopia to work with another team of HCWs, and will start that process in Bangladesh as well.

These are just some of the ways Mission of Mercy addresses the poverty our children face: malnutrition, disease, and the lack of information and training that puts lives at risk. This is the work we do for the children you sponsor: addressing pressing concerns while also planning for the future. It is an ongoing ministry of knowledge and care.

Let’s continue to pray for the team as they wrap up their trip and begin to travel home. Haiti will soon mark the very grim one-year anniversary of the January 12 earthquake. Emotions are high, and prayer is needed.

Reader Comments (1)

This is a great recap of the work that has been done in Haiti. It's hard to believe a year has passed since the earthquake. As Dr. Beyda said, there is still years worth of work left, but I am encouraged by reading that you have accomplished what you set out to do. The focus on sustainability and training is especially encouraging. Thank you very much for sharing.


January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLacy

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