This child is one month old, and her mother complained that she was not feeding. Dr. Daniel J. sent her and the mother to the hospital for immediate care.
This boy has a very large mass in his mouth, which pushes out his tongue. The mass makes it difficult for him to talk and eat. The growth has been there for years, but his parents were unable to do anything about it.
This woman has a huge thyroid mass, yet interestingly enough, she went to the medical camp for a separate medical problem.
This child, along with many others Dr. Daniel J. saw, has Bitot’s Spots, which is a sign of Vitamin A deficiency. Thousands of kids experience Vitamin A deficiency because they are not consuming it naturally in many vegetables and in milk and eggs. This boy was given a large dose of Vitamin A, which should solve the problem.
This girl is only 16 years old, and due to an eye infection when she was 2 years old, she lost her eyesight. Now it will be difficult to treat, but timely treatment and antibiotics could have saved her eyes.
Over the course of almost 10 days, a team of medical missionaries was able to reach out to almost 1,700 people in Chhattisgarh and Orissa villages—two of the neediest states in India. Here’s a firsthand report of the events from Gospel for Asia-supported missionary Dr. Daniel J.
A Typical Day
It took us anywhere from half an hour to four hours to reach these villages. Upon arrival, the team would set up and make the necessary arrangements. We had a reception table for entering the names of patients, doctors’ tables with translators and basic equipment, and a small pharmacy where medicine was issued and vitamins were distributed.
The clinic would then start. In most places, people were already there before we came. Crowd control was a little tough because everyone wanted to be seen first. On average, we saw about 300 people a day. But in one place we ended up seeing way beyond 500 people and didn’t finish until 8:30 p.m.; we even saw people in candlelight (when the electricity was out). Then we headed back to our vehicles, tired but satisfied about being able to help many.
What We Saw
A lot of our believers came from far-off villages—some traveling for five hours! A lot of malaria, sickle cell anemia and severe malnutrition were detected.
There were some really sad incidents, too. A mother came with the complaint that her child was not drinking milk. When we asked them to show us the baby, what I saw shocked me. It brought tears to my eyes to see a 1-month-old baby girl—probably weighing less than one pound, fighting for her life. I’ve only seen pictures of such starving, sick children. What made matters worse was they came from a tribal village, and the baby was a girl—meaning they didn’t really care. We gave them some money and sent them immediately to the hospital, but I really don’t know if the child will make it through the night.
We also had an elderly woman with breast cancer; she didn’t know what she had. It was far too advanced by now.
Among some of the depressing things seen, there were a lot of cases where we were able to administer vitamins and de-worming tablets. Those will go a long, long way to help these villagers—especially the children—to grow up healthy.
In all, we saw more than 1,700 people by the grace of God. We saw children (even infants as young as five days old), adults and the elderly, including a lady who claimed to be 100 years old.
A vast majority of children we saw had symptoms of malnutrition, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin D deficiencies, and also signs of heavy worm infestations. We gave the necessary treatment to these children, along with a large dose of Vitamin A. The villagers were also educated on how to wash hands properly by watching health educational DVDs.
A vast majority of the females we saw, including teenagers and young mothers, showed symptoms of anemia. They were all given vitamin supplements to provide them with iron, folic acid and other nutrients.
What We Learned
There are millions of people in India living today without even the basic medical facilities. There are people who have never ever been to a hospital or seen a doctor, extremely young mothers (we saw one as young as 14 years old), children who never received any vaccinations, and people suffering from problems that could have been avoided (like a child who went blind due to an eye infection) or prevented (there was a 4-year-old child unable to walk due to severe Vitamin D deficiency), etc.
What the vast majority of these people need is simple education on how to prevent health issues like diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis, anemia, nutritional deficiencies and worm infestations.
Medical missions has a definite role in reaching out to people with the love of Jesus. When we are treating their bodies, we are also touching their souls by telling them we care. And when they wonder why someone would care to come all the way to their remote village and treat them for free, well, the answer is this: “We do it because Jesus loved us, and so we love you too.”