Christian Doctors commit to helping HIV/AIDS patients in Africa

By October 12, 2006

Kenya (AIM/MNN) — 40-million people are infected with HIV worldwide. More than 60-percent of them (25.8 million) live in Africa. These horrific statistics are a daily reality for missionary Doctors Kevin and Karen Shannon with Africa Inland Mission. Stationed at Kijabe Hospital, they are constantly reminded of the severity of the AIDS pandemic and its devastating effect on Africa.

Kevin writes, “I cannot recall the last day when there was no one with AIDS on our inpatient service. Often more than half of our inpatients have AIDS.”

Those with AIDS are also the sickest because they have contracted a variety of “opportunistic infections,” illnesses that people with normal, healthy immune systems rarely suffer from. One of the most common is tuberculosis. “HIV patients often have TB,” Kevin says, “and it is more likely to be resistant to the usual TB medications, making it hard (and more expensive) to treat.”

There’s also a stigma attached to AIDS in Africa. Families are embarrassed to admit that members are infected and sometimes abandon them.

One patient in the Kijabe Hospital was admitted with a serious pneumonia associated with AIDS. However, after three weeks in the hospital, none of his family had visited. “They left him here to die, it seems,” Kevin says.

Approximately 10-percent of the adult population in Kenya is HIV positive (there are estimates above and below this number).

According to Kevin, he and his wife have chosen to practice medicine there and “train Kenyans to be fine medical professionals and to be fine Christian men and women who will take on the health challenges here in an effective and righteous way.”

A program called The Saline Solution is one example. It focuses on both medical training and discipleship. Developed by the Christian Medical and Dental Society, it aims to help doctors be “salt” in their interactions with patients. Kevin uses this program in the training of Kenyan family doctors at Kijabe Hospital.

“Please pray that we will be salt and light here in Africa,” Kevin writes, “and that the Lord will make us effective as we train Kenyan physicians who will be the ‘saline solution’ more effectively than their teachers — meeting not only the physical but also the spiritual needs of this corner of the world.”

One Comment

  • alaba kuku says:

    GOOD DAY, AM ALABA , FROM NIGERIA AGE 35,I WENT TO CHECK MY STATUS ON HIV ON THE 15TH OF DECEMBER , AND I WAS SADLY CONFIRMED POSITIVE, I HAVE BEEN SO DEPRESSED DUE TO THE FACT I NEVER IMAGINE IT , AM IN LAGOS AND I HAVE GONE TO THE LOCAL CLINIC , I HAVE BEEN USING ATRIPLE,. WILL LOVE IF I CAN HAVE A COUNSELLOR DOCTOR THAT CAN ALWAYS GUIDE ME MORE ON THIS JOURNEY WITH FAITH AND DURGS . THANK YOU SO MUCH

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