Uganda (MNN) ― Uganda's health sector has felt the ravages of a slowed economy. Government health facilities have fallen into disrepair, supplies for government clinics are in shortage, and staffing is far below what are considered optimum levels.
For those who get medical training, jobs are plentiful elsewhere, leading to "brain drain" of Uganda's brightest health care workers.
A typical stay at a hospital can take place in a room with little more than a bed. Unless friends or relatives come by with food, the patient doesn't eat. These conditions prompted a team from Every Child Ministries to inject the situation with a little help, hope, and love.
ECM's Lorella Rouster explains, "There have been times when our staff has paid to have somebody come and stay with a person because they didn't have anybody to stay with them and to provide for their basic needs."
More recently, they've taken to visiting the women and children in a public hospital in Gulu. "Many people in northern Uganda are virtually alone. They're alone in the sense that they're not with their original family", explains Rouster. "They're not with people, always, who really deeply care for them. That's just part of the devastation that's been left by this long 20-year war with the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army)."
A visit, prayer and practical help go a long way to physical and spiritual health. "These visits help people to know that they've not been forgotten and to feel that they're significant, that they're loved, and that they're valued."
As a result, relationships built up, which led to more. "In the last month, we've seen six people come to Christ through this ministry. We're looking forward to many more as they [the team] share the message of salvation in the hospital ward."
Rouster says more and more of their staff are keeping their eyes open for opportunities to share the message of salvation in every aspect of their work. Because of the compassion, doors open more readily.
For the team that's doing the hospital visitation, for as many times as there is celebration and new life, the work can be draining and disappointing. "Pray that our staff would not get discouraged by seeing death close up, and by seeing the difficulties and the problems that people face. They might focus on the hope that they can bring in Christ."