Christine Whiten, DO - ZANZIBAR
I had the pleasure of going to Zanzibar this past year on my mission trip. Zanzibar is a small tropical island off the coast of Tanzania, it is considered part of Tanzania. I went with a group called DINA Foundation. Tuesday through Friday we were taken to a local clinic to help run things. This clinic was an outpatient site with minor lap testing capabilities, an L&D, and area to do minor procedures. On Saturday we were able to go with Dina Foundation team to rural country areas and bring much-needed medication and supplies. This was also a chance for the local and surrounding villages to see the doctor for any concerns. Saturdays were probably my favorite part of the trip, because not only did I get to travel and see the beautiful island but I felt like we were making the biggest difference in our patients lives.
Jamie Bishop, DO - UGANDA
My mission trip to Uganda was spent with a team from Sixty Feet. Their mission is to serve and take care of imprisoned children in detention camps and remand homes throughout Uganda. The main office of Sixty Feet is located in Kampala. During my time in Kampala, I traveled with the team to some of the outlying camps scattered across Uganda.
I worked with their medical director, Dr. Ray Elsayed, helping to treat and take care of the children. Dr. Ray also held his own private clinic taking care of people in the ‘slums’, one of the poorest parts of Kampala. He spent one of his only afternoons off seeing as many people as he could in one afternoon/evening in the two-room dirt floor house of one of his friends.
The team at Sixty Feet not only provide medical care to the children in the remand camps and detention centers but also help them to relocate to their homes, find their families, pay their school fees and give them a firm foundation to become functioning members of the society in Uganda. The team also brings the Word of God to these children through scripture and worship. My mission trip to Uganda was an amazing experience learning not only medicine but also about African culture and witnessing the wonderful giving nature of the team at Sixty Feet.
Nicholas Darby, MD - TANZANIA
Nested between Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti in the distance, my wife and I arrived at Tanzania Christian Clinic for a month of medical learning, spiritual growth, and the formation of new friendships. After shadowing the first couple of days, we integrated into the clinic with a few shifts in their regular staff: I filled the normal role of one of their health care providers, and my wife replaced the job of the pharmacy technician, who had been tasked to translate for me.
Over half of the patients that we met were Maasai, members of one of a few indigenous people groups that have retained their cultural lifestyle. Now occupying northern Tanzania and southern Kenya, the Maasai largely remain polygamous, semi-nomadic pastoralists, steeped in indigenous religion. You have probably at some point seen a picture of a young Maasai warrior emblazoned on the front of a magazine or book. Although once one of the strongest warrior tribes on the continent, because of their dedication to their pastoralist heritage, they are now increasingly poor and unhealthy due to limited land and diseases. Uncommon tragic diseases were common at the clinic, and we saw the destructive effects of periocular anthrax, brucellosis, AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
It was an honor to be a small part in the ongoing mission of this clinic to plant the seeds of Christ’s love in the hearts of the Maasai by providing much-needed healthcare to this people group. The Tanzania Christian Clinic serves as a prime model of an optimal international Christian medical clinic. It was evident that everyone there had been remarkably empowered, and the standard of care provided was amazing and far exceeding our initial expectations. We were so appreciative that all of the staff demonstrated an eager desire to teach both of us. We enjoyed spending the time with everyone so much and truly cannot say enough good things about this clinic and mission effort.
Jeffrey Weeks , DO - UGANDA
I had the privilege of working alongside Sixty Feet Ministries in Uganda. The organization is known in Uganda as CJI or the Children’s Justice Initiative and is responsible for going into the juvenile prisons and working with the boys and girls to teach them a trade. They would teach them how to farm, sew, work as a basic mechanic or teach them how to read if they wanted to go to school. The goal was for them to be able to earn an honest living when they get released. They also help resettle the kids and sponsor the education of numerous children in Kampala and the surrounding area. Working with the medical team, we would provide basic physicals for all newly incarcerated kids, test them for HIV, and we would de-worm them as well. We took care of the medical needs of the rest of the kids in the prisons, including everything from treating for malaria to splinting fractures. We helped take care of kids in orphanages including one that was a special-needs orphanage. I got to spend a day at Corsu, the orthopedic hospital on their “CP” day. I worked with the pediatrician and the physical therapist seeing kids with cerebral palsy and various other neurological conditions. On our “off-days” we would take a backpack of medicine into the slums and treat as many people as we could until the medicine ran out. Your views on who needs medication changes when you are paying for all the medication yourself. I was able to see and treat several conditions I had never seen before including malaria, measles, elephantiasis and Lesch Nyhan syndrome. It was an amazing opportunity to help hundreds of people that I know would not have had any care if I hadn’t gone and I can’t wait to go back.
Shoaib Mahmood, MD - JORDAN
During November 2017, I had the pleasure of taking my second medical mission trip to Jordan. I went on this mission trip with the organization IMANA (Islamic Medical Association of North America). IMANA has been doing quarterly medical mission trips to Jordan since 2016 in order to provide free treatment & medicines to the urban Syrian refugees who were displaced from their country due to ISIS conflict that started in 2012. I was part of a 13 members mission team that provided medical care for one week to these Syrian refugees that otherwise would not have had any access to medical care.
The medical care was provided to the patients at different clinics and refugee camps around the region of Amman, Jordan. IMANA has successfully conducted 13 missions to provide free comprehensive healthcare to displaced Syrian refugees and treated over 21,000 patients. Every day we started seeing patients at 8AM until 5PM. Daily, the medical team provided care to 300-350 patients totaling about 1500 patients for the whole mission trip. Not only were these patients provided free medical care but they were also given free medications, which were paid for by IMANA and purchased locally from collected donation funds by IMANA team members. When necessary, we also performed a few minor surgical procedures during the trip. In addition to seeing patients at the clinic one day the team members also visited a local refugee children school and provided free care to any sick children and free backpacks for all of the children. On the last day, the team members were taken out to a trip to Petra (one of the 7 Wonders of the World) which is a famous archaeological site in Jordan.
Overall, I felt it was a great learning experience, as well as a very rewarding second medical mission trip for me. Not only did I learn about the difficult lives that refugees have to live through but I also learned about different diseases this acquire due to their living conditions. In addition, I learned how to practice medicine when only a few resources are available. During this trip, I continued to learn how to adapt and live in conditions which do not have all the facilities that we are accustomed to in the USA (i.e. running water or a flushing toilet). It is heartbreaking to know that the Syrian refugees are living in these conditions daily for the past 5 years and many more years to come. I was so touched by this medical mission trip to Jordan that I plan on going back to serve and help these displaced Syrian Refugees again next year as my medical mission. Thank you, Cahaba Family Medicine Residency Program, for providing me with this opportunity to serve others in dire need of medical care.
Jenny Kendall, MD - ETHIOPIA
Cahaba allowed me to spend a month working alongside providers and staff to train new young Ethiopian GPs (equivalent of residents in the U.S.) at Soddo Christian Hospital (SCH). It was such an honor and privilege to be able to deliver babies and see patients on the peds, medical and OBGYN wards. Additionally, my husband (David) and I were able to partner with some God honoring, servant-hearted, humble local ministries doing truly amazing work near Soddo, Ethiopia.
The Mossy Foot Project is a ministry that provides medical treatment, education, vocational training, social counseling and emotional support to individuals and their families who are affected with podoconiosis (aka “mossy foot”). We went on an outreach to one of the many rural towns where they set up their mobile clinic, wash feet, fit shoes and pray for people afflicted by this debilitating yet easily preventable disease.
The Emmanuel Disability Ministry provides crutches and wheelchairs and helps transport disabled people to get the surgery they need to be able to walk/mobilize again. They also employ disabled men and women to make crutches, wheelchairs and hospital beds that they are then able to sell to hospitals.
The WRAPS organization empowers school girls to embrace their femininity and learn proper hygiene by providing them with reusable sanitary pads. They also employ and train young girls in Soddo to make pads and underwear.
We also partnered with Dr. Mary, a physician from the U.S. who has dedicated the past 20+ years to treating and loving impoverished, malnourished rural patients outside of Soddo who have no other access to medical care. This was an awesome and humbling experience, and I was intensely moved by the desparate needs of the people in Soddo.
Malia Swanson, MD - PERU
My missions month took place in the mountains in Curahuasi, Peru (2 hours outside of Cuzco, Peru). It is a rural town with a Christian Missionary Hospital staffed by a med-peds doc, pediatrician, vascular surgeon, general surgeon, ObGYN, Ophthalmology and dentistry and several Peruvian missionary GPs. The hospital provides ambulatory, primary care, inpatient and ICU services to Peruvians at little cost. People come from 100's of miles to receive services. They primarily serve indigenous Quechua people and offer chaplain and Christian services. The hospital is robust and well run for its remote setting.
While in Cuzco I worked with all of the physicians including ophthalmology. I spent 2 of my weeks with Anesthesia learning General Anesthesia and Intubation techniques. I spent one day a week learning Spanish with a local high school Spanish teacher. I participated in the OR with the OB-gyn during gynecologic procedures. I worked in the ED and in clinic and was overseen at all times by an attending Physician. I also had the opportunity to work with the Ultrasound technician working on my Ultrasound techniques. My family came with me and we stayed with my brother in law who is a Med-Peds Physician at the hospital. On weekends we attended the local church and met with missionaries from the community to hear their words of wisdom about long term missions.
I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve in a low resource setting such as this and could see myself spending more time at this Hospital or one like it in the future.
Casey Hicks, MD - EGYPT
In Egypt, the medical education system is not as developed as it is here in the United States, and there is a lack of training in primary care in particular. After hearing from a faculty member at Aswan Family Medicine Residency that they were short-staffed and in urgent need of someone to help teach their residents, I was was recently able to travel to Aswan, Egypt for three weeks to volunteer as faculty for the residency program.
During my time there, we began each morning with a staff devotional, followed by a meeting with all the doctors to discuss patients who had been admitted to the hospital. I spent several days seeing and caring for patients in the hospital along with the residents, while other days I served as supervisor as the residents saw patients in clinic. I also had the opportunity to give lectures to the residents and students.
Similar to patients here in the U.S., many of the patients we cared for were sick with common diseases such as diabetes, pneumonia or heart disease. However, I would occasionally see a patient with a more unusual disease. The main focus of the hospital is to provide care for the poor; therefore, all of the patients were very grateful for the care they received. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to go and use so much of what I have learned working with our residents here!
John Wright, DO - HAITI
I had the pleasure of traveling with Dr. Chatman to Lifeline Christian Mission in Grand Guave, Haiti in May of 2018. We served there for 1 week in the local clinic and also doing 2 mobile clinics in neighboring cities. Our time there was productive and we saw over 300 patients. We treated lots of infections and also provided care for many of the newborns. Lifeline has a newborn program that provides nutrition to the most impoverished of families. It was a poignant experience in "taking care of the generations" overseas.
Kaylee Perkins, Chasity Gibson & Candice Hathcock - RWANDA
We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve God and His people in Rwanda through a medical mission trip with Come Away Missions. We spent several days in the rural village of Gahara sharing our testimonies, playing with children, and teaching on multiple health topics. We shared our knowledge of family planning, birth control options, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, arthritis and water sanitation. We worked to create closer cultural ties not only by asking them questions about their daily lives and values, but also by visiting genocide memorials, attending a traditional Rwandan wedding and attempting a soccer game with the locals. We were able to visit the site of the future City on a Hill, a joint medical clinic and church being built in the town of Muyumbu. The project is being funded by donations through Come Away Missions.
The mission of Come Away Missions is to give God glory and empower believers to make Jesus known among the nations. They partner with Christ Community Church of Columbus, Georgia and with Jean Baptiste Tushimeyere, a pastor in Kigali, Rwanda. They strive to build lasting relationships with the Rwandan people and invest in their lives. The founders, Jonathan and Jessica Taylor, have created a company called COPO (Creating-Ownership-Providing-Opportunity). This company provides sustainable incomes for artisan women in Rwanda through empowerment and opportunity.