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Medical missionaries struggle to treat patients who often arrive in critical condition, requiring emergency care. Sadly, the battle to save lives is further complicated when the hospital has limited equipment or is running low on supplies as basic as surgical gloves, syringes, and sutures.
Operating as the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse, World Medical Mission serves as a lifeline to dozens of mission hospitals around the world by providing millions of dollars worth of critically needed equipment and supplies. Trained staff in Boone, North Carolina, coordinate a 10,000 square-foot warehouse where donated equipment is received, reconditioned, and shipped overseas, along with supplies that are vital to day-to-day operations.
Biomedical technicians and an electrician travel overseas to install and repair equipment and teach hospital staff how to operate and maintain the machines.
Last year alone, we shipped 54 containers, valued at more than $4.6 million dollars, to 29 different hospitals and clinics in 17 countries, including Liberia, Burundi, Haiti, and Iraq.
When a boxcar-sized container arrives at a mission hospital, news spreads quickly. Soon, all available staff assemble to unpack the container and distribute materials throughout the hospital.
Dr. Richard Furman, the co-founder of World Medical Mission, was visiting Kapsowar Hospital in Kenya when a container arrived.
“We needed a portable X-ray of an arm we were operating on. They got the machine out of the container and we used it,” Dr. Furman said. “It would have been a disaster if we had not had it. Then they unpacked the first 12-lead EKG ever at the hospital and an oxygen concentrator. Patients had been dying for lack of O2. There were also incubators and warmers for newborn infants. How many babies had died because they didn’t have these?”
Medical equipment helps physicians save lives and contributes to an environment where patients have an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“All the doctors and staff here are saying how different Kapsowar Hospital is today because of Samaritan’s Purse,” Dr. Furman said. “But the greatest part of all is that medicine is a wonderful tool for evangelism. The better this hospital is, the larger the platform we will have to tell others about Jesus.”
World Medical Mission receives donated equipment and supplies from hospitals, doctors’ offices, medical supply companies, and individuals. Before accepting equipment, the biomedical team carefully evaluates the condition and expected lifespan of machines, and matches the equipment with the needs of mission hospitals.
“To my knowledge, there is no other ministry that is devoted to not only providing the supplies and equipment, but also providing the technical support that hospitals need,” said Jim Moore, the technical support supervisor for World Medical Mission. “We have the whole team.”
The warehouse staff often sees God’s hand at work, matching emergency needs with perfectly timed donations. “It happens all the time,” Jim said.
One afternoon, Jim received a call from Ruth, the director of a medical clinic in Guyana. “Brother Jim, I need an infant incubator,” she said. “We have babies dying at our hospital because we don’t have an incubator.”
There were no incubators in the warehouse at the time, but Jim said he would call Ruth as soon as one was available. Ruth said she would pray.
Before Jim could hang up, another call arrived on line two. A woman explained that her Bible study group in Virginia had just finished raising $1,200 to purchase an infant incubator like the one they had seen in the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog. She wanted to know if Jim knew of a specific need.
The warehouse team is currently collecting equipment to help create a dental unit at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea, and collecting key equipment like portable ultrasound and X-ray machines, patient monitors, oxygen concentrators, and endoscopes that are needed in hospitals all over the world.
Dr. Peter Bird, the head of surgery at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya, is always thankful when another container arrives. “When World Medical Mission provides one of these large containers full of equipment, it really helps us focus on providing compassionate health care to poor and vulnerable people, and in doing that, we’re able to share the Gospel with them as well.”