SIM along with many other mission agencies has historically been involved in both sending medical missionaries and running mission hospitals — often in remote places.
Praise God for those who have served, sent and prayed for such people, but it’s always good to take stock, to ask what is currently on God’s heart.
With such changes in health needs, highlighted by the global pandemic, we have seen new challenges in health care and as such, Christians need to be asking where Christ is leading in such times?
One thing we can be sure of is that the compassion of Christ — as demonstrated by Jesus himself in his healing ministry when on Earth — is needed more than ever. People across our world still stand in need of physical, mental and spiritual healing.
Another thing we can be certain of, is that the Biblical command to make this same healing and saving God known, remains unchanged.
But in this COVID era, especially when we have appreciated our NHS workers here in the UK, we need to remember that for millions of people around the world, there is no such guaranteed access to health care.
Whilst the UK spends $4,536 per capita on health care, this stands at $32 in Bangladesh, or $24 in Ethiopia. For those nations around our world with limited resources, the need is especially great.
Whilst we are thankful that between 2000 and 2017, the maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) dropped by about 38 per cent worldwide; yet every day in 2017, approximately 810 women died from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth and 94 per cent of all maternal deaths occur in low and lower middle-income countries.
Each year, 143 million additional surgical procedures are needed in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to save lives and prevent disability.
Of the 313 million procedures undertaken worldwide each year, only six per cent occurs in the poorest countries, where more than one-third of the world’s population lives.
As Christians, we need to be mindful of the changes afoot. Urbanisation requires us to review where we send people to.
How can slum dwellers across our world access affordable health care? How can we influence the development of health care systems in Christ’s name?
Are there ways in which gospel workers can serve in preventative health care (especially in a time of pandemics) where the need is greatest? How do we build partnerships that enable Christian health care professionals to go to countries closed to gospel workers, who will not grant visas to mission workers or pastors?
And as countries develop their own health staff, perhaps the role of UK personnel is to go and teach in universities, or in less well-developed specialisms, such as mental health?
Christian Medical Fellowship is actively seeking to raise up a new generation of health care personnel who will go and serve — wherever Christ may call — going in his name, using their professional skills and passionate about making disciples.
We need to work in partnership with agencies, as we do with SIM, training those that God is calling to be missionally-minded, and partnering in church-sending, disciple-making mission.
- For wisdom as CMF and partners respond to the health care injustices that have been highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- For SIM UK and CMF to continue working together to mobilise more Christian workers for medical mission.
- For God to bless and protect SIM UK workers serving in different health care ministries across the world.