School Trains Missionaries In Health Care
The staff of an upcoming school wants to train missionaries in bringing wellness to people in practical ways. The Introduction to Primary Health Care, or IPHC, school begins in October at Port YWAM Kona. Michael Lefebvre, who will lead the school, said its emphasis is bringing medical help to places where local residents cannot readily check into a hospital or clinic.
“We’re talking about remote, isolated communities that don’t have any other options for reasons of distance or because of financial burden,” Lefebvre said. “They simply can’t afford to be treated at traditional health care institutions.”
Jennifer Campbell, who will serve on staff for the school, said IPHC has sent health care workers to people who have no governmental support in favor of their wellbeing. One such instance occurred this year in a rural farming village bordering the India states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
“They were having a hard time getting any sort of support from the states. Neither state wanted to claim them as a village because of where they were located. They’re a pretty isolated community,” Campbell said. “That was one of the first clinics we did while we were in the country. There was mass need there — a lot of simple pains, chronic pain people were suffering from because of farming injuries like pulled muscles.”
Lefebvre said health care is one of the most effective ways missionaries can demonstrate God’s love to people.
“Primary health care in particular, serving people with little or no access, is one of the most beautiful types of ministry because it meets the most significant need of the human,” Lefebvre said. “Everyone understands health care. Everybody understands the need for health and when they don’t have it, they are unable to contribute to their community.”
IPHC is comprised of three months of classroom lectures followed by a two-month field assignment in a developing nation. Both elements are required for successful completion of the course. Students who participate in IPHC outreaches will learn how much of an asset health care workers are to different types of ministries, Lefebvre said.
“In India, for example, our ministry contacts in Lonavala wanted to gain access to many of these communities but had been refused multiple times. Our short-term team was able to go in easily representing our contacts. We were invited in because of health care,” Lefebvre said. “After that, our contacts gained such favor that they were invited back multiple times.”
Campbell said IPHC also helps improve community health in villages by teaching residents how to care for themselves.
“We try to impart some kind of teaching any time we sit down and engage with somebody or every time we go into a community of villagers,” she said. “We want to give them tools that they can use in their own homes. That’s a long-term impact, not just a short-term cure.”