LIBERIA – We know that God is at work in the world all the time, meeting people’s needs in ways that many times we cannot see. But every now and then, we are privileged to have a front row seat to His mighty works of provision for someone else. That is what happened recently for a medical mission team traveling through Liberia.
The team was visiting Liberia to treat patients in rural areas, and to support local doctors with medicines and health supplies from MAP International. Their journey took them all over the country, and to several extremely remote communities.
Over 50% of the population in Liberia survives on less than $2 a day. This is hardly enough to keep little mouths fed, let alone pay for medicine if someone in the family gets sick. Even if a Liberian family couldafford to pay for treatment, many times there are no clinics nearby anyway. Here, access to medical care is just as big a problem as affordability. Liberians often have neither.
As the MAP-supported medical team slowly made their way over difficult roads, they drove through increasingly remote villages, each one void of any healthcare facilities. After 3 long hours of travel, they finally stopped at their destination, a maternity clinic seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
The team was at this particular clinic to deliver oral rehydration solution (ORS) from MAP, a simple yet incredibly effective treatment for dehydration and diarrheal diseases. In fact, 93% of diarrheal deaths could be prevented if ORS were available as a treatment.
For those of us who live in the U.S., we can easily buy a sports drink to rehydrate if we catch a nasty stomach bug. Fear of dying from an untreated bout of diarrhea is simply not something we experience.
But for those living in Liberia and other developing countries in the world, diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five. The solution is simple, but without access to it, the consequences can be devastating.
As the mission team was unloading the medicines, a young Liberian girl walked up to them. The girl was hot and exhausted, clearly having walked for many hours to get to the clinic. She looked very worried. It was then that the team realized she was carrying a baby on her back.
The baby was sick. The young mother had somehow managed to find a doctor elsewhere, who had written her a prescription for the baby, but she didn’t know where she could find the medicine. And after paying for the doctor, she honestly wasn’t sure that she could afford the medicine if she found it.
“When we looked at the prescription, we couldn’t believe our eyes,” said a team member. “She was showing up for ORS, the exact product we were there to deliver.”
Thanks to the donated products from MAP, the team was able to fill her prescription at no cost, so that her baby could recover from the dehydration and malnutrition that could follow.
For that young woman, provision showed up in the form of medicine, from strangers she likely will never see again. When we distribute medicines like ORS, we serve as agents of hope to people like that young Liberian mother. Because of your generosity, her baby’s life was saved, and she was given the gift of hope.