imb connecting ... meeting health care needs

Health care missions: biblical, Southern Baptist, strategic

healthcare professionals and students from across the United States came together to learn how IMB is active in health care missions, how health care strategies are being used to share the Gospel across the world and how they can get involved. Scott Holste, IMB vice president for global strategic mobilization, stressed why IMB is dedicated to health care missions: “It’s the biblical thing to do… it’s the Southern Baptist thing to do… and it’s the strategic thing to do.” Read more by clicking here.

Current Medical Volunteer Opportunities

Click here to see a list of current opportunities for health care professionals overseas. New opportunities in Europe and South Asia. Highlight: dentist / dental hygienist team for mobile clinics in Slovakia, late April / early May.

Migrant factory workers find hope through healthcare

While much has been reported about the working conditions of East Asian factories like Nike and Dell, much less has been written about the hope Christian workers are bringing to factory workers through community health training or CHT.
 
“CHT equips Christian workers and local believers with basic healthcare principles and skills,” explains project director Sally Kennedy.* “This approach allows us to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of factory workers.”
 
Migrant factory workers are usually uneducated and lack knowledge about basic health care, Kennedy explains. As a result, illnesses that reduce worker productivity are common as are boredom-fueled alcohol and tobacco addictions. In addition, many workers are not “residents” of the city and do not have access to affordable health care or other social services. 
 
CHT helps address these issues by working with factory owners to offer on-site medical clinics. In 2013, funding from Global Hunger Relief (formerly the World Hunger Fund) allowed CHT workers to hold medical clinics in 10 large factories where CHT teams treated more than 1,000 workers.

Read the rest of this inspiring story by clicking here.

Recent stories:

Healing, new life in a refugee camp

Helping the disabled make new lives for themselves

Fighting epilepsy with household toilets

Training nurses in rural Central Asia

Well project brings 'healing waters' to western Zambia

VIDEO: 'A woman's plight'

Sharing the good news of God's love through health care

For many women overseas, basic health care is a luxury few can afford. (To watch the video, click on the photo above. To download the video, search for it by name on the IMB Resources page.)

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"Then He sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick." (Luke 9:2 NIV) 

For Christians, healing the sick has always gone hand-in-hand with sharing the Gospel. Jesus modeled it Himself, and He sent His followers out with explicit instructions to both proclaim and heal.

Health care also has always been at the heart of Southern Baptist global missions, from the appointment of J. Sexton James as a missionary physician to China in 1846, right down to the present day. The face of health care missions in Southern Baptist life has changed, but we still focus on making disciples and starting churches while meeting physical needs.

Staggering need

Today the health care needs around the world are as unprecedented as the opportunities. The statistics on children’s health are staggering by themselves:

More than 22,000 children under age 5 die each day -- almost 1,000 every hour. About 3.3 million die during the first month of life; almost 6 million within the first year. Infectious diseases cause 64 percent of those deaths.

In many developing countries, children under age 5 routinely die from treatable afflictions like pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria.

In Africa, malaria strikes 94 of every 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. Tuberculosis affects 345 out of every 100,000 -- contrasted with only 29 in the Americas. Non-communicable diseases, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer -- now make up two-thirds of all deaths globally.

For adults, poor health not only shortens life but also reduces a person’s ability to provide for family -- pushing even more at-risk people deeper into despair. When communicable diseases run rampant and access to health care is virtually nonexistent, the eternal implications for entire villages and even people groups are truly, literally grave.

Unprecedented opportunity

Traditional mission hospitals still play a significant role in Southern Baptist mission strategy, and we partner with such institutions around the world. But the central focus of health care missions today lies with outpatient clinics and primary health care in remote areas. Southern Baptist missionaries also leverage their training and skills in the various health care disciplines to help educate a new generation of indigenous workers around the world. Today more than 250 health care-qualified individuals serve under career appointment through the International Mission Board.

Health care missions, in fact, fills a key strategic role in taking the Good News to the unreached peoples of the world. Where doors are closed to many others, health care professionals have unique opportunities to care, share, make disciples and empower the church.

Available and ready?

Your first step toward involvement, individually or as a church, is to make yourself available and ready to respond to God's direction. You can become informed about health care needs across the world and identify opportunities to use your skills in strategic ways that lead to new disciples and churches.

God may give you a burden to pray for people in need and the health care missionaries who serve them. God may call you, as He has many others, to a career overseas in international health, serving as part of a team that shares Christ and starts churches alongside national partners. Or the Lord may direct you to go as a volunteer for a shorter term, either as an individual or as part of a team.

Special events are sponsored by the IMB on a regular basis to help you discover God’s plan for you in health care missions. For information about the current schedule, visit:

www.imb.org/events

or email medicalmissions@imb.org.

If you want to talk with someone about getting involved, contact Dr. Rebekah Naylor, an emeritus missionary physician who serves as Medical and Health Care Consultant with Baptist Global Response, a key IMB partner in health care initiatives. Contact Dr. Naylor at rnaylor@gobgr.org or visit www.gobgr.org.

The MedAdvance conference connects health care professionals with strategic global evangelization. To see video presentations from the most recent MedAdvance, click here.