Day 3

Another great day in Ethiopia!

PictureToday was spent on relationship building with local care providers as well preparation for the school health assessments since Easter Monday had closed all the schools.  We began the day with devotions centered on the importance of loving relationships within the team as we begin long days of screening.  We first visited the Dessie Referral Hospital where the physician in charge gave us a wonderful 30 minute tour of his facility.  They were quite well equipped and have over 200 beds.  The wards look very different from those in U.S. hospitals as there are no linens and few nurses.  The patient and the patient’s family are responsible for their own linens, blankets, food and most nursing care.

We also visited two health centers which represent the first tier of community health care.  Run by the government and staffed only by nurses and nursing assistants, a health officer (not a degreed physician) will visit the facility 2-3 times a month.  There are no beds or overnight stays but they deliver babies and the new mothers are released within hours.

PictureThe purpose of these health facility visits was to develop relationships with the established health community and to alert them of potential referrals, as this mission is focused on health assessments for students at our partner churches and hosts.

Following dinner we met with representatives of our three church partners and planned the upcoming days of student health assessments.  What a blessing to have this opportunity to serve.

We are thankful that our bags arrived from Addis and we are ready to begin seeing children.

PicturePlease pray for our efforts as we begin our screening, specifically for the expectations of the parents of the schoolchildren.  The paradigm in this region has been for western providers to treat children in mission clinics where parents expect free diagnoses and medications.  This does nothing to break the pattern of dependency on the part of the Ethiopians nor encourage them to address the foundational health issues affecting their community.  In order to address these issues we will be primarily screening the population for health problems with referrals to the existing health care providers for treatment.  This may be an issue with parents expecting immediate treatment and we covet your prayers for peace in this process.

 


Today was our second day working in the Bole district. Last year, MPPC made a two year commitment to help fund the expansion of the SIM ACT program into this area, and over the course of the day the great strides that have been made with the blessings from God were very evident. We all began the morning making home visits again, with three teams visiting 3 or 4 homes each. It is hard to describe what goes on during one of these, so let me just give some details on one of our stops.

pictureWe visited Sufta, who only 3 weeks previously had delivered a full term stillborn infant. Her 18 month old daughter was on her lap as we spoke to her thru Danny, our interpreter, who informed us that Sufta and her husband were Muslim, had been in the project for a number of months, and that she was quite distraught over her recent loss. Visiting her at the time of our visit was Worknesh and her 6 week old daughter Burkheit. (see photo) Worknesh had been living on the streets, thrown out by her boyfriend/employer when she became pregnant, and she came to the project just before her delivery when she discovered she was HIV positive. The project team was able to assist her in getting treatment for her and her newborn at the hospital to help prevent transmission of the virus to her baby, and when she said she wanted to abandon the child, they counseled her and she elected to keep the child. When we had visited her home the day before, her only prayer request was to give thanks to God that she had found the project and for its work.

pictureAs we spoke to Sufta about her loss, we found ourselves relating the story of Jesus to her, and how God too had suffered the loss of His son, but that He had allowed this to happen for our benefit. Worknesh was captivated as she heard the story of the Gospel for the first time as we spoke with Sufta. Danny noticed this, and asked her if she understood what we were saying about Jesus; she replied she did, and wanted to accept Jesus as her savior. We prayed the sinner’s prayer with her as Sufta witnessed this, along with the choir of angels we assured Worknesh was then singing in heaven!

pictureLater in the clinic, as we saw patients in the afternoon, it was remarkable and a great treat to see patients again that our team had served the year before, and my nurse translator remarked on one of the changes she saw in the beneficiaries. While the year before a good number of them would not agree to pray with us after their clinic visit, essentially all of the beneficiaries now beamed as we asked if they had a prayer request for us. The project has a full time worker in the Bole health center, where they now have 1800 HIV+ patients enrolled. With the help of MPPC, God has clearly blessed the work of the project, and the tender care provided lovingly in a personal fashion is also spreading the Gospel at the same time. It is so gratifying to see our continued partnership with the SIM ACT project bear such fruit, and I truly hope it is a partnership MPPC can continue for many years.