Imagine riding for over an hour on a motorbike-for-hire across rough and dusty terrain. You struggle to stay balanced on the back of the bike as the driver swerves around potholes, mud puddles, people, cars, and other obstacles. It’s a sunny day with searing 95-degree heat and high humidity. Early into the ride your back begins to pour sweat because of your backpack full of medical supplies. You arrive at your destination, a remote village in Mozambique, Africa. Exhausted, dirty, and sore from the long ride, you and your teammate set up and prepare to see a long line of patients waiting for medical attention. The day is long, and your return ride home feels even longer. For the next few days, you will repeat this same process. Why? Because of the love of Christ within you. Because these people need you. Because they have no one else.
This was the experience of our two-man medical team, just days after Cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique on January 23, 2021, bringing destructive flooding and wind damage. Over the past several months, they had been building relationships with local authorities, and after Eloise hit, our Medical Director was contacted by an authority in the public health sector to see if our team would be able and willing to attend to people impacted by the cyclone who were sheltering in a remote resettlement camp. Many people there needed medical attention, but the public health team was already spread too thin.
Our team gladly accepted, and in just 4 days they attended to 314 people who had been displaced by the storm. They treated a variety of ailments from malaria and diarrhea to blood pressure and psychological trauma and distributed mosquito nets, face masks, soap, and medication. They also provided much needed health education on how to prevent malaria, cholera, diarrhea, and other diseases.
Malaria is prevalent in Mozambique and is a mosquito-borne infectious disease caused by a parasite. The symptoms are similar to influenza. Left untreated it can easily kill. Approximately 800,000 people annually worldwide die from it, and its impact on world health is second only to tuberculosis.
Cholera, another common disease in sub-Saharan Africa, is caused by a bacterial infection and is usually spread through unclean water. It impacts an estimated 4 million people annually and is fatal if not treated quickly.
Diarrhea may not sound like a big deal in America, but in underdeveloped nations like Mozambique, it is a huge problem. Often a symptom of bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection, diarrhea kills over 760,000 children under the age of five every year. According to the World Health Organization, it is the second most common cause of death in children worldwide.
In America, we sometimes take for granted our awareness of basic health knowledge, like how to treat diarrhea. We also take for granted the readily available over-the-counter medications we have for treating it. God only knows how many lives were saved by our team’s willingness to respond to the request for help; to go and be Christ’s hands and feet to hurting people.
Jason and I have said it before, but we’ll say it again….we’re proud of the dedication of our Hope of a Nation teammates, their heart, and their desire to make a difference in their communities, but, without our financial and prayer partners, this work would not be possible.
It’s because of people like you, that we are able to continue making a difference, one life at a time.
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