Many folks in our community regularly have to choose between buying food and paying for medical care. Malaria, typhoid, and other easily treatable diseases often escalate to death, or near death, because the family must choose to eat. Amoeba and intestinal worms, though also easily treated, often become significant health problems as well when left unchecked. Malnutrition is an additional cause of growth and developmental problems, and even death, among the littlest ones.
People typically live in small mud-and-stick homes with dirt or cow dung floors, which are breeding grounds for jiggers. The initial result of jigger implantation is tungiasis (skin inflammation, pain and lesions at the site). In some cases, jigger infestation can lead to secondary infections including bacteremia, tetanus, and even gangrene. Extreme cases, untreated, may result in ulcer or nail and tissue deformation. These problems are all too common in our area, and we have always been committed to assisting those with the greatest needs.
Medical missions on the ground in our village have always been a united effort. Initially, the Carrier family organized the necessary interventions, arranged transport to the clinic or hospital, and essentially acted as the “middle man” to filter funds from caring and concerned US donors to those with medical emergencies. At this time, most of that responsibility has shifted to disciples in our fellowships who have undergone some basic training and proven faithful with the responsibility. One of our church deacons oversees the various medical needs, while other brothers escort patients to hospitals and assist in consultations with doctors, transport patients via piki piki (motorbike), and provide food and visitation to those in need. Our brothers also coordinate care as-needed for members of distant house churches in our network.
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