Wednesday, 7 August 2019
The Galmi Hospital Benevolent Fund aims to provide a tangible manifestation of God’s compassion by financially assisting the impoverished of Niger to access good health care at Galmi Hospital by reducing medical fees. The Benevolent Fund allows those who are unable to afford health care, to receive care for themselves of their families. This may take the form of subsidising medical or surgical care, lab tests, x-rays, hospital fees, or helping a mother who is far from home for a week, eat and feed her child.
Clement’s story illustrates how staff at Galmi Hospital seek to meet the needs of their patients in the face of overwhelming need.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a difficult disease to treat as newly diagnosed patients must remain faithful to six months of daily medications. For every missed dosage, the chances for resistant tuberculosis, which can spread to others, increases. Through the Benevolent Fund, medication for TB is administered to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. As TB medications are strictly regulated, they are only available in Niger through the National TB program.
Tragically, the National TB program ran out of medications while awaiting its next order, resulting in stock-outs of TB medications in centres like Galmi across Niger. Staff endured the heart-rending ordeal of informing patients who had been faithfully taking their medications and were back for refills, that they would have to pause their medication. This pause was a grave risk to the patients and their families.
One TB patient who suffered from this stock-out was Clement*. Clement, an HIV-positive man who was too weak to stand, was diagnosed with TB during this period. However, the staff were unable to give him the medication they knew could save his life. Battling the grief and despair of Clement’s tragic situation, Dr Megill immediately stopped his work and wept in the exam room.
Although the TB patients smiled with patience after receiving the bad news of the stock-out, the doctors felt the duty to rise up as ambassadors and speak out. Working with a team, Dr Megill crafted a letter to the authorities. After the letter was sent, one of Galmi Hospital’s older physicians was given the opportunity to meet with the Director of the National TB program in Niger. Galmi staff were pleased to see the readiness in the National TB program to resolve the situation during the meeting. After an excruciating wait, the TB stock-out was finally resolved.
Although the struggles the staff of Galmi Hospital face are epic, God is using the hospital for His greater good. After speaking out on behalf of the TB patients of Galmi and helping resolve the situation, the Galmi Hospital staff could return to treating the 700 patients who are diagnosed with TB at Galmi each year.
*Name changed to protect identity
Help the impoverished of Niger to access vital health care they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford! You can make a tax-deductible gift to the Galmi Benevolent Fund here
Are you looking to serve God with your health profession? Start a conversation with a Mission Mobiliser today about using your medical skills at Galmi Hospital or other mission hospitals in Africa or South Asia. Visit sim.org.au/enquire
to learn more.
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