| Immediate global response|
The suffering and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic spans the globe. Equipment and supply shortages make responding even more difficult, especially in countries where resources are few and health systems fragile. But SIM is now raising funds to provide vital equipment and training to hospitals in Africa, Asia and South America.
SIM’s COVID-19 Health Ministry Immediate Response project will ensure immediate assistance gets to the frontlines. This may mean supplying funds directly, arranging the supply of life-saving equipment or helping train local workers how to triage and treat patients.
Those judgements are being made by a team of SIM health professionals, led by Dr Mike Faus, who are in touch with colleagues in SIM hospitals and partner hospitals around the world. The funds will go to wherever they are most needed.
In a survey of SIM’s global medical ministries, located in some 30 countries, the most pressing need is for personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff working with suspected COVID-19 patients.
SIM surgeon Deborah Eisenhut, has already shared her method for producing home-made PPE, learned during the Ebola crisis, with more than 50 medical personnel in 10 countries. The video of that training is available to SIM workers, while the written notes and PowerPoint are available to anyone. (For more details please email email@example.com.)
In many places, basic materials, such as face masks and soap, are simply unavailable. In many countries, the international commerce that re-supplies local businesses has been cut off by border closings.
To give just one example, Mukinge Hospital in Zambia has approached the fund to ask for 7,000 USD to buy soap – a vital commodity if handwashing is to be effective in stopping the spread of the virus.
There is growing economic stress on the operations of SIM medical ministries. With local government policies mandating restricted population movement, less non-COVID-19 patients are being treated. Such patients usually pay for treatment – a considerable source of revenue for hospitals and clinics which operate on very tight budgets.
Though the challenges are steep, this project can relieve some of the burden our medical ministries are facing and support dedicated healthcare professionals, like Dr Mikey Bryant, who are determined to carry on their ministry.
Mikey, who serves at the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia where many Ebola patients were treated in 2014, said: “God has asked us to stay and serve the people of Liberia. He has called us here for such a time as this. These are the people who he has loved and sent his son Jesus Christ to die for. Our lives are not our own, they are his, and we have the privilege of serving him.”
Support the COVID-19 Immediate Response project:
Join us as we strive to alleviate the urgent needs of our medical ministries and supply healthcare facilities with essential equipment and materials during the coronavirus crisis. To donate, go to sim.org.nz/donate and enter project number XZ 99753.
— Daniel Nokler
• the project to ease the financial strain on SIM medical ministries.
• the Lord to extend strength and endurance to our healthcare professionals.