Surgical missionary Jim Brown helps African doctors gain the skills they need. (Image courtesy of EFCA ReachGlobal)
Cameroon (MNN) ― Surgeons in developing nations are few and far between. The World Health Organization (WHO) says about 1.5 million health workers are needed in Africa alone, where doctors with little or no surgical training operate on patients.
Evangelical Free Church of America's ReachGlobal is helping to combat the crisis.
"Every week, almost every day," said EFCA missionary surgeon Jim Brown in a December 2012 article published in The Atlantic, "we have someone in here draining stool from an abdominal incision, or a ureter tied off, or the wrong operation done somewhere else…And very often they die."
Brown is the associate director of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons' (PAACS) largest surgical residency program, located at the 270-bed Mbingo Hospital in northwest Cameroon. Mbingo is one of 10 PAACS Training Centers; each one is located at a rural Christian hospital and has a board-certified general surgeon serving as the program director.
So far, 28 students have graduated from PAACS's residency program. All are continuing their work in Africa in underserved communities.
"It's about that Christian heart," Brown told Brian Till with The Atlantic, "It's about choosing to live sacrificially and not moving somewhere where you can make a buck.
"The Christian part of the name is non-negotiable. We could not do this without His strength. A lot of the time, it's brutal down there."
Brown trains Mbingo's current surgical residents, each of the 10 hailing from an African background: four from Cameroon, four from the DR Congo, one from Liberia, and another from Uganda.
"I have to stay focused on them, and training them well," said Brown in the article, referring to his students. "There's a million and one things I can get distracted by, and destroyed by, but if I stay focused on them and their training…that's how I can deal with everything else."
Pray that God would call more surgeons to meet the need in Africa.
EFCA's medical ministry includes telling people about Jesus.
Elsewhere in Cameroon, ReachGlobal partners with Medical Centers of West Africa (MCWA) to reach one of the least-reached people groups in Africa: the Fulani.
Traditionally, the Fulani are nomadic cattle herders. But they've started settling closer to villages to get medical care for their families and veterinary care for their animals. EFCA ReachGlobal and MCWA use the 100-bed Hôpital de Meskine as a launch pad for ministry that extends to local villages and beyond.
In order to share the Gospel with the Fulani, ReachGlobal pairs evangelism and church planting with medical ministry, literacy ministry, and development ministry.
Click here to learn more about their work in Cameroon.
Pray that the Gospel would spread through EFCA partnerships and programs. You can get involved with ReachGlobal Africa by clicking here.