New year, new beginnings

For SIM UK member Ted Watts, there was one major item in his diary for the beginning of a new year: “Start PAACS”.

Ted is the senior surgeon at The Good News Hospital in Mandritsara, where this week, a new five-year training programme begins to train young African doctors and ensure the future of the hospital’s medical ministry.

All hospital staff are Christians and take the opportunity to pray and share the gospel with every patient. But with fewer than 100 surgeons serving the island’s 26 million inhabitants, the hospital has always relied on overseas missionary surgeons.

“I’m very excited to be starting this programme of training and discipleship for mission-minded Malagasy surgeons, but it’s also very daunting!” admits Ted, who has been serving in Mandritsara since 2017.

Ted in theatre with the hospital’s two surgical trainees Drs Tefy and Rado

The programme is run in partnership with PAACS the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons and will give Malagasy junior doctors a qualification equivalent to a surgical qualification from the UK.

Ted and Rachel Watts live and work in Madagascar with their two young sons

“However, alongside teaching the junior doctors the knowledge and skills they need, we can also model and teach them to be surgeons who are compassionate towards those they treat,” explains Ted, who is sent by Beeston Free Evangelical Church together with his wife, Rachel, who works as a paediatrician within the small medical team.

“We want our graduates to be those who love Jesus and love to tell others about him surgeons who take every opportunity that health care provides to share the good news.”

Over five years, the PAACS trainees will do much of their training at the hospital’s new theatre complex, which officially opened on January 14.

“The hospital needs to expand how many operations it does as we anticipate the number of patients will continue to rise,” explains Ted.

The new complex was a long time in the making and includes three major operating theatres and a minor operating theatre; four consultation rooms and a new recovery and intensive care unit.

“It’s quite overwhelming to see what the Lord has done since 2020 when the process began and we had raised less than 25% of the funds needed for the building.

“The inauguration was an incredible day and so encouraging as it went as smoothly as we could ever have dreamed of,” says Ted.

The speeches and inauguration of PAACS

“The regional governor was visibly moved by the fact this facility has been built and asked us to build four similar hospitals in the region! We are so grateful to God for his faithfulness and that it was a day of praise and celebration, as we worship our Lord for his provision and give him the glory,” he adds.

To find out more, or if you are interested in joining this mission-centred medical ministry, please contact Ted Watts at [email protected]. For financial gifts supporting this new training programme, please visit the Friends of Mandritsara Trust website here.

By Kerry Allan

Please pray

  • For a solid spiritual foundation to the PAACS training programme to be established from the start.
  • Give thanks that the new surgical building was completed and the project is fully funded.
  • Praise God the hospital received 500 virals of a vital anaesthetic drug, amid a nationwide shortage.

This was posted on 11 January 2022 in Compassionate ministries and Medical Mission and Ministry stories and Training and equipping.
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