Over the past three weeks, all four of my children have come down with a sickness that required medicine. On top of this, one of my sons has been dealing with a bad infection that is demanding doctor visits, an ultrasound, biopsy, antibiotics, steroid shot/pills and other medicine. He has suffered with various kinds of pain that is hard to watch. We have been spending many days and even nights calling doctors and traveling to the pharmacy and hospital. And while the whole process has been very frustrating in trying to coordinate schedules, it was also draining emotionally, physically and some financially; the reality is, despite some of the problems we experience in the US, we still have some of the greatest ease and access to medical care compared to many other countries and people around the world.
As our national director in India put it in a previous article: Every day, 23,000 people die in India; 6,000 of them died due to lack of proper medical attention and the lack of medical facilities. According to the latest statistics, there is only 1 doctor for every 1,700 Indians. India is a nation of 1.3 billion people, and 70% of the population live in rural areas with inadequate or no medical programs. Sadly, this results in people dying from diseases which could easily have been cured with basic medication.
As a parent, I know how helpless I feel when my kids are sick; even with the access to doctors, hospitals and medicine we have. It’s still a horrible feeling to watch them suffer with any sickness or any pain for any length of time. So, I cannot imagine what it is like for parents who have no access to doctors or medicine. This is one reason why I am passionate about the medical clinics we host for people in situations like these, and I would encourage you to be as well.
Imagine if you were in one of three villages where we hosted medical clinics this summer in North Bengal, India, treating around 300 people. Two of these clinics were held in two of the most remote villages in the district, where roads have been blocked by landslides and in some places even washed away by torrential rains. Geographically, these villages are isolated from the rest of the district, and there hasn’t been a lot of development. The people of these village have to walk many miles to reach a primary health center, which doesn’t even operate most of the time. The nearest hospital is a three-hour journey through landslides and rough terrain.
One man, Sanjib, walked three miles with his young son when he heard about ServeNow’s free medical camp. He shared the following: My child has been suffering from the flu for some days now, but I have not been able to visit the doctor, because I would have to travel about 50 miles to see a good doctor. This medical camp that ServeNow is hosting is exactly what I needed! I am very glad for the free treatment and medicines for my child. Thank you!
An elderly woman in her late sixties also came to the medical camp. She said: I have been suffering from severe body aches for quite some time now, and with my ailing body I cannot travel a long way to see the doctor. This medical camp with free medicines is a such great blessing for me. I am very thankful to ServeNow.
On our way to another village, the most remote village in the entire region, we went as far as we could to where the road ends, and even then people had to walk for over an hour to reach the free medical camp. The pastor in this village told us: This medical camp is a great mission. Our village has no primary health center, and the villagers have to walk for two hours just to get some medicine for a common cold. This camp is a great help to the villagers and the surrounding villages. At the camp, we especially attended to many elderly people who are not able to travel 40 miles to the nearest hospital. Imagine having to walk for two hours just for medication for a common cold! Imagine having to travel 40 miles to the nearest hospital!
Another story that personally touched me was that of a pregnant women. Anitha is twenty-six years old and at the time was pregnant with her second child. She attended the medical camp held by ServeNow in the slums of her community. She said: I am very thankful to ServeNow for providing free medical treatment. I received medicine and also a special multivitamin tonic that will keep me healthy. These medicines are expensive, and I would not have been able to buy it with my limited finances. I am a housewife and my husband is a daily wage laborer. This camp conducted by ServeNow is a blessing to me and the community here. Thank you, ServeNow.
What does it take to provide medical camps? It only costs $350 US dollars to sponsor a one-day clinic that will treat anywhere from 150-300 people! Sometimes, it can cost us $350 just for medication or a trip to the ER; but the same amount can enable a couple hundred people to be diagnosed by a licensed doctor and receive basic medication/counseling. Again, these are people who cannot afford to visit a doctor or have no access to hospitals or medicine when they or their children are sick. Imagine the hope and joy you could provide them! God, in fact, may want you and me to be the answer to their prayers!
This is why I plead with you from my heart, the heart of a father and a husband, to consider sponsoring a medical clinic. Or maybe a group you are involved with would like to sponsor a medical clinic. Maybe your church would like to participate; these clinics not only meet a real physical need, but also open many doors for the Gospel to be shared. Those who attend medical clinics will also have a chance to hear about the Great Physician, sometimes for the first time. They will also have the opportunity to receive the power of prayer, not just of medicine. Perhaps your doctor would like to sponsor a clinic. Or maybe you are a doctor or nurse and have a network where you could share this need with. Our goal is to host at least one clinic a week, all year long. This translates to just $18,200, which would bless 8,000 to 15,000 lives! Why not talk to them about this opportunity?