I am new to WOW. I mean brand new. My third day on the job, half an hour into my commute, and stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on a major highway, I received the call no mother wants: my son was being rushed to the emergency room. He was anaphylactic: his eyes and lips were swollen, throat was closing, and he was extremely nauseated. At age 15, he had never been allergic to anything! Thankfully, our home is a close five-minute drive to the hospital. Upon arrival, he was taken immediately into the triage, and before the nurses were finished taking his pulse and blood pressure, the I.V. was administered with the epinephrine needed to combat the symptoms.
By the time I was able to fight through the traffic to get to work, and inform my new boss of the events which had just taken place, my son had been medicated, seen a doctor twice, was covered with cords monitoring his pulse, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. The swelling and redness had diminished. He could breathe. I was given a prescription for an epipen and told that he would need allergy testing. I was also informed that if he had not gotten to the hospital so quickly he could have died.
Working for WOW, it is not hard to imagine how sitting in the curtained hospital room my mind was diverted to all the children around the world who do not have such quick and easy access to medical care, and how frustrated and powerless their mother’s must feel when they are unable to help them. According to the World Heath Organization (WHO) “Although the percentage of the world’s population without access to essential medicines has fallen from an estimated 37% in 1987 to around 30% in 1999, the total number of people without access remains between 1.03 and 2.1 billion people.” Most of those without access are in Africa and India. According to WHO’s 2014 progress report on Maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (MCA), “280 000 child lives were saved between 2000 and 2013 in Malawi as a result of increased treatment for diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria (23%), use of insecticide treated mosquito nets (20%), and immunizations (17%).” WOW is working hard to bridge these gaps.
WOW’s Mobile Medical Clinics, currently in 18 rural communities in Zambia, have treated more than 29,990 people this year alone, allowing families to have access to medical practitioners and supplies without having to make arduous trips to urban centres. Families like Malaika’s. Malakia (the young girl lying on her mother’s lap pictured above) is just 12 years old. She has Malaria. Her mother took her to a local traditional healer who was unable to assist the girl. Thankfully, WOW’s Mobile Medical Clinics arrived in Malakia’s community just in time and were able to give her the proper diagnosis and medicine to treat her illness. These clinics not only provide proper diagnoses and medications, they also provide testing for various chronic illness and diseases and public education. Most importantly, they share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Mobile Medical Clinics are a matter of Life and death for many people like Malaika and are often the only chance they have to see a medical professional.
The access to medical care in rural areas brings to mind Luke 5:17-39; the story of the friends of the paralytic who heard the Healer was in town and broke through several barriers (a crowded room and a tiled roof), to make sure their friend could get the medical attention he needed. Jesus saw the faith, not of the man, but of those with him and not only healed him, but also forgave his sins! We too have some friends in Africa who, like Malaika, need us to break through the barriers of distance and finances in order to receive the medical care they need.
Will we be the friends who help bridge the gaps and break through barriers?
Visits to the WOW Mobile Medical clinics cost just $4-$5 per patient, clinics cost $1,130 a month to operate (just $13, 560 per year). Contact WOW today to find out how you or your church can help sponsor a mobile clinic or patient visit.