AgapeMED Medical, Surgical, and Dental Mission Report
Activity: AgapeMED Annual Medical, Surgical, and Dental Mission
Mission Dates: May 29th - June 3rd, 2017
Place: Holeta, Ethiopia (~38 km west of Addis Ababa, the capital city)
In Cooperation With: Christian Medical Doctors and Dentist Fellowship (CMDDF) - based in Ethiopia and has been collaborating with AgapeMED since 2015.
Beneficiaries: Patients residing in Holeta and nearby towns
AgapeMED is a Ministry of Ethiopian Evangelical Church in MN (EECMN) that strives to reach those who are struggling to get basic medical care due to lack of access to healthcare and poverty by using volunteers from Minnesota and around the world, and also to share the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As part of this mission, AgapeMED organizes an annual trip to Ethiopia to serve underprivileged and low-income communities. This year, AgapeMED accomplished its mission by providing medical, surgical, eye, dental, and other services as well as evangelism from May 29th - June 3rd at Holeta Health Center, Holeta, Ethiopia.
The medical team consisted 50 volunteers including doctors, nurses, evangelists, and few non-medical professionals. Senior Pastor of EECMN, Pastor Endiryas and Evangelist Yohannes were on hand with the team to lead an evangelical crusade in Holeta town.
Upon arrival in Holeta, local church leaders welcomed the team and prayed for the success of the mission. The next day, representative of the Mayor’s Office and the head of the Holeta Health Office welcomed the team before kicking off the start of the mission work at 9 AM. Right away, the team received and triaged the overwhelming crowd that gathered in anticipation of this event to identify and address individual medical concerns.
The target beneficiaries of the mission were residents of Holeta and nearby towns, who couldn’t afford medical care provided at local hospitals and those coming from places where there was no healthcare facility to address their needs. More than a thousand such patients, mostly elders and children, had arrived at the Health Center early in the morning desperate to get their medical complaints resolved.
The mission provided free healthcare services consisting of minor surgeries, dental services, dermatology, Internal Medicine, pediatric services, and eye examinations. Lab works and special diagnostic tests (using Ultrasound and X-Ray) were performed. Prescribed medicines and reading glasses were also given out for free to the beneficiaries.
Total number of patients served
A total of 3,350 beneficiaries were treated and served during the medical mission across the many specialties. Among these were: Internal Medicine - 1,286, Ophthalmology - 1,048, Pediatrics - 475, Dental Services - 251 (78 patients got dental extraction), Surgery - 185 (110 patients got Cyst and Lipoma removal), and Dermatology - 105 patients.
While the beneficiaries waited for registration, they received health education in the areas of infection prevention, good hand hygiene, clean water usage, the benefits of breast feeding, complications of abortion, and other pertinent topics.
Story to share:
A distraught mother brought her 3yr old daughter to be seen by a pediatrician. The child was very pale, weak, and actively bleeding from her mouth. The physician suspected Leech worm (typically found in river and lake water) to be the culprit and attempted to visualize using a flash light and tongue depressor, but was unable to do so. Her hemoglobin was 4. Her mother was crying nonstop and desperately begging the doctor to save her daughter’s life. The child was referred to Saint Paul referral Hospital in Addis Ababa for immediate medical attention. The moment she arrived at the hospital, she was examined and given a medication that successfully induced removal of the Leech worm. She was then transfused with one-unit of blood. The next day, her Hemoglobin recovered to 8, the bleeding stopped, and she returned to her baseline. She was discharged from the hospital in a stable health condition. On the way home, the mother brought her daughter back directly to the mission site to show the progress and thank Dr. Bereket, who made the initial diagnosis and was present every single day during the mission along with the team making a difference in the life of this child and many others like her.
Access to fresh and clean water still remains to be a challenge in rural areas of Ethiopia. This experience has further highlighted the need for more education regarding clean water usage to mitigate preventable disease outcomes.
While most of the medical team spoke Amharic, most of the Holeta people spoke the Oromo language. During the medical mission, attempts were made to resolve this issue by placing at least one medical team member that can speak the local language in most of the medical examination rooms. Most patients also came with family members who helped translate for them. Having interpreters on hand helped free up mission team members to attend to other pressing medical needs.
Operating rooms where minor surgeries and dental services were provided did not have adequate lighting. Improvised light sources such as cell phones and flash lights were used for improved visualization during medical procedures.
AgapeMED team had shipped a container full of medical supplies and equipment three months in advance of the mission trip. However, due to various reasons including Customs Office bureaucracy, the shipment didn’t arrive on time. To make up for the deficit, some supplies like gloves were locally purchased for the mission work. There was a shortage of items like drapes that couldn’t be found in the local market.
The original plan was to perform the medical mission at Holeta Primary Hospital. The hospital building and installation were unfortunately not completely done. There was no other alternative except to use Holeta Health Center, which didn’t have adequate medical examination rooms to serve that many people at once. As a result, at times, two doctors were examining different patients in one room with a shared table. In addition to the restriction imposed in the delivery of medical care, this condition compromised patients’ privacy.
Donor and Sponsors
Holeta Primary Hospital was the intended recipient of the medical supplies and equipment AgapeMED shipped. The plan was to donate everything to this hospital, and to use some supplies during the medical mission work. Since the container arrived after the completion of mission work, all supplies and equipment were donated directly to the hospital.
MATTER “Hope for the City,” an NGO based in Minnesota, donated over half a million-dollar worth of supplies and equipment. AgapeMED has been partnering with this humanitarian organization since 2015. We are so grateful to collaborate with this incredible organization. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all the MATTER staff, who worked with us throughout the procurement and shipment process and made this mission work a success.
We would also like to thank all the people that came to MATTER and helped us pack the supplies. We would be remiss if we didn’t also acknowledge the support of all our brothers and sisters Ethiopia, who worked tirelessly in the effort to get the container released from Customs. Our highest appreciation goes to them.
AgapeMED is financially supported by its annual fundraising event, EECMN members’ support, volunteers’ contribution, and sales events held throughout the year.
Allina Health financially supported employees, who were volunteering for the mission, through its global mission fund program. Other organizations and co-workers of the volunteers on the mission also participated by donating reading eye glasses and other medical supplies.
We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all our donors and sponsors.
“And He said to them, Go into the world, and preach the gospel to all creation” Mark 16:15
Besides reaching the patients with their medical needs, touching lives with God’s love is also part of AgapeMED Ministry mission. To accomplish this goal, the team provided one to one counseling provided during this mission to all those willing to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Of all the people who heard the Gospel, 280 people responded and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and with their permission, their contact information was given to the local church for follow-up.
We are praising and glorifying our God who helped us complete 2017’s AgapeMED Medical mission successfully. We would like to inform our readers that, in addition to our annual trip to Ethiopia, this Ministry serves locally in Minnesota through various activities. We, the AgapeMED team, passionately welcome you to serve with us locally or/and internationally!
For more information and volunteer sign up please check our website @www.agapemed.org