A Hospital With Just One Doctor?
January 1st, 2005 by INMED
Where will the next generation of medical missionaries come from? How will young health professionals catch the vision for missions unless they actually experience them? On this theme, my thoughts frequently turn to the new, 80 bed Lubango Evangelical Medical Center. Conceived by Steve Foster, MD, and funded through Samaritan’s Purse, the EMC will be a beacon of hope for the impoverished city when it opens in the near future.
However, the heart of any ministry is not in its buildings and grounds, but it’s people. The EMC has but one full-time physician who is committed to serve the thousands who will seek assistance. People will come suffering from malaria, malnutrition, liver failure, fractures, and labor complications. They will require emergency care, surgery, anesthesia, and prevention efforts aimed at curbing these diseases. Yet these worthy efforts require devoted professionals. Foster described the shortage succinctly:
“In November we did 32 surgical cases in 3 days. One 16 year old gal from Chicuma went in to labor 5 days before coming to the hospital. When she arrived the baby was dead, squashed into a vaginal canal. I managed to get the baby out, but the gal promptly went into septic shock. Only massive doses of IV fluids and antibiotics brought her round. By the second day she was hungry and wondering what happened to her. Without a doctor present she wouldn’t have made it. Even a well-trained Angolan nurse doesn’t understand septic shock well enough to manage these cases. So keep telling the message. We need another doctor or two!”
INMED graduates will be among those who respond to such a challenge. We must do our part to assist them; to help share the vision and provide the means for young professionals to experience the privilege assisting those people who are most in need.