Why become a CHSC Global Care Partner?
Healthcare has historically been a powerful tool for demonstrating God’s love, compassion and mercy to a hurting world. This realization prompted hundreds of mission hospitals to be developed over the last century. Founded by a variety of Christian denominations, these hospitals are often the only healthcare available for vulnerable populations. These facilities provide 50% of the care in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet sadly they are now closing in great numbers because they lack outside support. Christian missionary physicians and nurses have staffed these hospitals since their inception—however, the number of medical missionaries is declining. According to the Christian Medical and Dental Association, there are only about 1,300 missionary physicians still serving full time worldwide, which covers only a fraction of the need. As a result, keeping mission hospitals functioning has become increasingly difficult.
Ever been in a mission hospital in Africa? Click this video to take a tour of the maternity ward at Kalukembe hospital with CHSC Missionary OB/GYN Dr. Priscila Cummings.
Studies indicate that medical missionaries have much higher attrition rates compared to their non-medical peers. Medical missionaries often see children and mothers die that could have easily been saved in the well-equipped facilities of the U.S. They often work in poorly equipped, understaffed environments. Seeing death and suffering on extreme levels takes its toll on the missionary and their families.
Without staff to serve these hospitals, much needed facilities are closing. There are three issues at the heart of this crisis—decreased sending of long-term medical missionaries, decreased denominational support of healthcare, and the high burnout of medical missionaries.
In January of 2010, the Christian Health Service Corps (CHSC) was created in response to this crisis. CHSC was designed to directly address the unique challenges of healthcare ministry by providing specialized support for doctors and nurses serving around the world. CHSC is the only mission organization created to specialize in preparing, sending, and caring for healthcare professionals as long-term missionaries. Thus, our vision is to set the standard by providing excellent support and care of medical missionaries.
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What do the statistics say about where we work?
CHSC Missionary physician Dr Daniel Cummings is one of only two doctors for a 200 bed bush hospital in rural Angola.
The healthcare workforce in developing countries is a critical situation and is expected to worsen according to the WHO and Global Health Workforce Alliance (2014). This shortage of health workers has serious implications for the health of billions of people across all regions of the world. It also translates to millions of deaths each year from preventable causes, mostly in young mothers and children. In their report entitled “A Universal Truth: No health without a workforce”, they outline how there is a need for at least 7.2 million more healthcare workers in the developing world at present. This critical shortage of health workers in the developing world is expected to increase by more than 5 million over the next twenty years. Without ongoing multidimensional support this critical shortage of health workers will likely increase to 12.9 million by 2035.
Developing the Healthcare Workforce
CHSC Missionary Surgeon Dr Tim Berg directs the PACCS surgical residency at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya
We also recognize the struggle to bring healthcare to the world’s poor needs to go far beyond the direct provision of healthcare. It is only through building community capacity to respond to their own health needs will healthcare be sustainable where we serve. CHSC staff often serve as faculty in established training programs and residencies raising up the next generation of health professionals. Others train national staff in less formal environments. However, the goal remains the same; improve access to healthcare, improve health infrastructure and build local healthcare capacity. Looking across CHSC programs it is easy to see this is a central theme; from our training community health workers in Cote d’Ivoire at the national level, to training surgeons in Kenya and DR Congo, or developing a family physician residency in Ethiopia, building local capacity is central to the identity of the organization.
More than 300,000 women die annually due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. This equates to approximately 830 women dying each day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. It is also important to consider that 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. A pregnant woman from a developing country is 36 times more likely to suffer from pregnancy-related complications compared with a pregnant woman from a developed country.
In 2013, an estimated 6.3 million children under five died, 2.9 million of them in Africa. This is equivalent to five children under 5 years of age dying every minute. More than half of these early child deaths are due to preventable causes. Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 15 times more likely to die before the age of five than children in developed regions. Pneumonia accounts for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years old, killing an estimated 922 000 children in 2015. Each year diarrhea kills around 760 000 children under five. Globally, Malaria caused an estimated 453 000 under-five deaths in 2013. 437, 000 of them were in Africa. Infant mortality in urban areas across Africa have posted rates as high as of 61 deaths per 1000 live births. However, in many rural African communities it is not uncommon to see 1 out of 5 children not live to see their 5th birthday.
According to Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (2015) Two-thirds of the world’s population have no access to safe and affordable surgery, according to a new study in The Lancet – more than double the number in previous estimates. This study estimates 93% of people in sub-Saharan Africa cannot obtain basic surgical care. A third of all deaths globally in 2010, approximately 16.9 million, were from conditions which were treatable with surgery.