We have all made legitimate complaints about the high cost of health care and medicine, but can you image living in a place where there is no health care or medicine?
Living in America, with hospitals open 24/7 and 911 emergency service available to anyone with a phone, it’s hard to imagine what it might be like for a mother giving birth or a child suffering with a broken bone miles from nowhere, with no hospital, doctors, phone… or hope.
Operation Blessing cannot staff clinics the world over, but we are doing the next best thing: training and equipping resident community health workers. We recruit individuals already living in unserved areas. We choose people who have a willingness and aptitude to help others. We teach candidates the fundamentals of health care and provide a tool kit, a supply of basic medicines and a cell phone. In serious cases our health workers know how to get professional advice and assistance and function as a bridge between villagers and professional medical care.
In the August issue of Blessings, there is an example of why village-based health care works so well. In Kenya’s Maasai tribal villages, by tradition, mothers do not practice breast feeding. Instead, they concoct a formula of goat’s milk and butter. Many infants have difficulty digesting the formula and die or suffer malnutrition while the mother’s nutrient-rich milk goes to waste. Efforts to convince mothers that breast feeding is beneficial did not work until our resident Maasai health worker gave birth herself and carried her baby throughout the village, demonstrating proper breast feeding technique. The baby thrived, village women were amazed and started breast feeding their own children! The practice is now spreading to other Maasai villages and the regional Ministry of Health has adopted OBI’s model for community health workers.
Training and empowering locals to look after themselves is an example of how Operation Blessing’s innovative strategies enable your gifts to keep on giving.