That was when the severe pain in his head and stomach began. Was his condition from dehydration, an inner ear infection, migraines or something worse? Curren did not know. He did know the pain was almost unbearable. Standing up made him dizzy. Working in the fields, his main source of income, was unthinkable.
Curren needed medical attention, but he was among the half of the world’s population without access to needed health care services.1 The nearest quality hospital to Curren was around 50 miles away, an impossible distance with no transportation of his own. This is a common problem for people in rural Asia, where the need to travel long distances presents a significant barrier to attaining health services.2
But proximity alone does not guarantee access. Many impoverished people across Asia like Curren do not have the funds for proper medical treatment, even if it is available.
“I didn’t see any doctor or medical expert because I need money to see them,” Curren said. “I don’t have money for my treatment, so I couldn’t go to any doctor or medical expert.”
Curren sought out a local witch doctor, but his mantra didn’t improve Curren’s condition.
The 40-year-old father’s heart sank. How was he to care for his wife, three children and elderly mother? Would he become one of the 2.9 million who die every year from lack of access to health care?3
A Leaflet of Hope
Hope arrived in the form of a leaflet announcing a free medical camp organized by GFA World’s medical ministry. Perhaps Curren could find some answers and relief after all.
Unable to walk the four miles to the camp, Curren recruited a young neighbor to transport him and his wife on the boy’s bicycle. It was a trek, but the trio managed to reach their destination.
Upon registering, Curren sat and enjoyed some refreshments offered by GFA Sisters of Compassion, who attended those waiting to receive free medical care. While Curren waited his turn to see a doctor, he listened to speakers share about health issues, hygiene and the love of God.
Absorbing the words, Curren perused the scene before him. Children waited with their mothers. Curren had once been one of those village children. He had been fortunate to reach adulthood, but how many of these children might perish without quality health care?
In 2019, 7.4 million children and young people under the age of 25 died, largely due to treatable causes, while more than 5 million children didn’t even reach the age of 5.4
According to UNICEF, “Basic health services like vaccination, medical treatment, adequate nutrition and clean water and sanitation become matters of life and death when children and young adolescents do not have access to them.”5
These essential health services have been further interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which, due to job loss and its economic impact on families, has put already-vulnerable children in Asia at even greater risk of death from infectious diseases worsened by malnutrition.6
GFA World medical camps are able to help not only adults, but also children in need. These doctors are able to meet villagers closer to their homes and provide care completely free.
GFA Medical Camps Benefit Entire Communities
GFA World’s medical ministry is helping thousands such as Curren in need of medical attention, bringing help and healing in the name of Christ. Every year, GFA workers organize approximately 1,000 medical camps, which typically serve 200 to 1,000 individuals. These camps bring skilled doctors, medical staff and health training to remote villages, crowded slums and areas where people like Curren rarely have the chance to see a doctor.
“I wouldn’t have [been] able to go to any medical camp expert or hospital or doctor for my medical checkup if there had been no free medical camp,” Curren said. “I don’t [have] money to spend for my physical treatment.”
"...There are people who never go to any hospitals because of lack of money, and many of them suffered severe sicknesses and many have died because not going to or not availing any medical aid.”
Through the medical camp, Curren received medicine to treat his ailment, free of charge. He appreciates the benefit for himself as well as his village.
“It is very important and helpful for the villagers to have this kind of medical camp,” Curren said. “We are poor here, and we do not have access to any medical facilities or hospitals nearby, and even though there are hospitals in other towns, we are not able to afford the expenses. So this is a great help for all of us to have a medical camp free of cost. … There are people who never go to any hospitals because of lack of money, and many of them suffered severe sicknesses and many have died because not going to or not availing any medical aid.”
‘I was sick and you looked after me’
Though thousands have been helped through GFA medical camps, many more remain in need of medical attention, as well as an encounter with the Great Physician. Countless people like Curren are too poor to afford medical care or live in places too remote to have access to hospitals or medical facilities. Often the challenge is two-fold, and they are without hope for their ailments.
Curren received free medicines, like these, to treat his head and stomach aches. Like many villagers, Curren could not afford to buy the medicine he needed.
By partnering with GFA’s medical ministry, you can be the answer to many people’s health problems. While medical treatment at these GFA medical camps is provided free of charge to attendees, they are not without cost. These camps are made possible through the generous support of compassionate partners like you. You can help provide life-giving medical aid to the sick and needy in Asia, and thus minister to Christ Himself. For as Jesus said, “I was sick and you looked after me” (Matthew 25:36 NIV).
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