A team of Adventists health professionals from South Sudan impacted the community during a recent Total Member Involvement event in the capitol city of Juba.
In cooperation with the country’s Ministry of Health, the Total Member Involvement health professionals, lead by Dr. Daniel Machour, distributed 5,400 mosquito nets in various centers around the city of Juba. Machuor hoped that during the coming rainy season, which comes with highrates fo malaria, will find refuge in the mosquito nets.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), the population of the country was more than 12 million in 2017. In that year, 1.3 million people were infected with malaria. According to Evans Liyosi, the South Sudanese Representative for WHO, malaria is a leading cause of death in South Sudan today. The mosquito-borne disease accounts for 65% of all illnesses reported in health facilities across the country. Every week it infects more than 77,500 people and kills nearly 220 – most of them children under the age of five.
The mosquito nets distributed in the Total Member Involvement meetings were not enough for a population in desperate need! According to Machuor, priority had to be exercised. “After assessing the needs in the centers, we have identified pregnant and lactating mothers that have children under 5 years,” he said. “These are the first beneficiaries because they are the most vulnerable.”
As a government employee, Machour was proud of the friendship and good relationships Adventist medical personnel have built with their employers. Because of this relationship, they were able to convince the Ministry of Health that Total Member Involvement meetings were an opportune time to care for the health of the people. Consequently, they were given medical equipment, medicine and personnel. For these Adventist health practitioners, there can be no other better way to preach the gospel.
Health practicioners in South Sudan believe medical camps and health education are part and parcel of evangelism. The vast majority of the people in South Sudan are poor and can’t afford medical services. For a full month, those who attend the Total Member Involvement Meetings are treated free of charge. The medical team are dispatched throughout Juba in about 16 centers. There were 55 medical personnel, 6 doctors, 10 clinical officers, 19 nurses and 8 registration clerks. They were deployed from one center to another every day.
According to Machour, the goal was to treat 5000 people before the end of the meetings. What touched the team most, was that local people appreciated the service they could not otherwise afford. Among the medical personnel were some non-Adventists doctors who befriended Adventists and joined them in the free medical camps.
Daniel Ogwok, the executive secretary of South Sudan Attached Territory and Total Member Invovlement coordinator for the region, said the meetings impacted not only the church but the nation as well. He further shared that they had 550 Total Member Involvement sites with speakers, 95 of whom came from abroad. With a membership of 38,000, the territory joined the East-Central Africa Division in 2012.