FSIL Graduation – November 2017
MBF believes that nurses are the cornerstone of every health care system. They are critical, not only in the delivery of essential health services, but they are also at the core of strengthening health care systems. The developing world faces numerous challenges in addressing the growing health care needs and concerns of its people. These communities are struggling to manage the evolving disease burdens with limited resources and staff. A key strategy to combat what could play into the poverty spiral is to build a nursing workforce that is highly educated, well trained and empowered to influence change. This is happening in partnership with the indigenous church and nursing schools, and we are encouraged as we hear about the successes.
Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti (FSIL) has the only nursing baccalaureate program in Haiti. This is a critical distinction and major advancement in health education for this small country. The commencement ceremony for FSIL was held on November 4th, where 32 students were honored for their hard work. This was also a celebration for 16 of those 32 women, as they were the school’s very first master level class. We celebrate with FSIL and congratulate one of our own, Haiti Country Coordinator, Paule-Nice Stanfil who graduated with honors.
MBF’s Haiti Pharmaceutical Network – October 2017
“Thank you for the incredible donation of pharmaceuticals. We received them today and the staff all send their many expressions of gratitude.”
Sara Simeunovic, Executive Director of Haiti Healthcare Partners
When Hurricane Matthew hit the small island of Haiti in October of last year, many were quick to respond. Recovery was a slow process. As the days turned to months, resources were so depleted that treating even the most basic medical issues became a challenge. Recovery was slow and medicines and supplies were hard to come by. A miracle was needed and God called on MBF and its partners to stand in the gap. Several pharmaceutical companies donated large amounts of critically needed medicines, but they needed a way to get them to Haiti, and a way to distribute them to hospitals and clinics that were desperate for help. Because of its long-term partnerships in Haiti, MBF was asked to coordinate that effort.
What started as a relief effort has grown into a network of 18 Christ-centered hospitals and clinics serving all denominations of God’s church in Haiti. The results have been astounding. More than 20,000 children, women and men, ranging from infants to the elderly, have been helped. Treatments ranging from the most basic to complex vulnerabilities preventing infection and even death have been made possible from these pharmaceuticals. And all have received these medicines free of charge. The Haiti Pharmaceutical Network continues to serve those most in need and we look forward with great anticipation to see how God will continue to work through us.
MBF is a Christ-centered organization dedicated to transforming lives by working with the indigenous church in developing countries to build sustainable medical ministries and share the Gospel.
MBF Classifies DR Congo as Conflict Area – April 2017
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been in a constant state of political unrest and regionalized armed conflict for many years. The central region has been especially volatile serving as a battleground for rival ethnic militias. Recently however, the violence has escalated. Roads have been blocked, airports shut down and villages are fighting with each other in addition to clashing with both government and rebel forces. Residents and missionaries continue with only very basic activities and are essentially “sheltering in place”.
The violence began in response to the start of the presidential election process back in August. The elections have been postponed for a number of reasons. As a result, protests have erupted throughout the capital region of Kinshasa. It is unclear where talks between the government and the opposition party now stand in their efforts to avert a serious civil conflict. According to the UN, since August, more than 400 people have been killed and more than 200,000 displaced.
Parts of Congo, particularly in the east, have experienced insecurity for more than two decades since the end of the Rwandan genocide. In the central region of Kasai, where many of MBF’s partners and PC(USA) missionaries are located, clashes between local villages have been ongoing for several years. However, the unrest in the region seems to have intensified. As recently as last month, some 40 police officers were found beheaded and the bodies of two UN experts, one a U.S. citizen and one a Swedish national, were abducted along with their interpreter. Their bodies were found after about two weeks. This is the first time UN experts have been reported missing in Congo and it is the first recorded disappearance of international workers in the Kasai provinces.
Due to security concerns, this is all we can report at this time.
For our ministry partners in DR Congo who were already operating in a precarious situation, this has turned into a crisis. While some missionaries are still in place, many have been evacuated for safety reasons. Some Congolese hospital and nursing school staff have left to take their families and seek refuge, and an increase in wounded (both military and civilian) are straining the limited resources at IMCK and other hospitals and clinics.
We have monitored the situation since August, hoping it would improve. However, things have continued to deteriorate and it is becoming increasingly difficult for our ministry partners to operate under normal conditions. Based on our assessment, MBF has decided to internally classify DR Congo as a Conflict Area and begin immediately working in an “emergency relief” approach.
For MBF this means that for the immediate future our primary focus in DR Congo will be on getting funds and support to our partners for their basic survival. We will also temporarily suspend long-term development projects, as well as the planning and reporting those projects entail. We are not abandoning these projects, but rather suspending our current work efforts until the situation is stabilized and staff is able to return to normal operations. MBF will work with staff members of our partners currently in place to identify basic services that need funding, and, if needed, supplement staff salaries in order to keep the hospitals open and providing humanitarian medical services.
First and foremost, we ask all of our U.S. ministry partners to pray for the staff and their families of our partners in DR Congo:
- Congo Presbyterian Church (CPC)
- CPK Clinics in Kinshasa
- Good Shepherd Hospital and PAX Clinic
- ITSM and ITM Nursing Schools
- Lubondaie Hospital
- Moma Hospital
- Jeff and Christi Boyd
- Dr. John and Gwenda Fletcher
- Marcia Murray
- Larry and Inga Sthreshley
Your financial support is also critically needed. By faith, MBF is already responding to the needs of these partners. Please consider a special gift, as generous as possible. It can help in providing medications, medical supplies and salary support. To make a donation, click here.
Lucy – March 2017
Lucy grew up in the region north of Nairobi, Kenya. From a poor family, she is one of five children and her parents are peasant famers. But despite their struggles, Lucy’s family believed in her education and to support it they sold their only three cows to raise money for her tuition to the Tumutumu Hospital School of Nursing. The sale of those cows represented a significant loss for the family, but even so, it was not enough to cover the cost of tuition.
Without enough money for tuition, Lucy was forced to drop out of school. But she never lost her passion for her studies or her dream of becoming a nurse.
After receiving a scholarship provided by MBF partners, Lucy returned and was able to graduate. She now works at the Tumutumu Hospital, owned by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. The impact of her education reaches far beyond just Lucy, it helps her family have a better future and it helps the many patients who come to the hospital for life-saving treatment.
As Lucy tells us, “I am working at the hospital and dedicating myself everyday as though I have no tomorrow when I remember where I have come from…Today, I can support my parents in educating my siblings, and so the whole family has benefited.”
Lucy is just one example of how our partnerships with MBF create successful, sustainable, medical ministries. Together we are creating a network of nursing schools in developing countries providing scholarships, helping with the construction of classroom facilities and supporting the development of new programs. Each new nursing student has the potential to care for more than 50,000 patients in their career.
Unfortunately, most of the students at MBF partner nursing schools are like Lucy and can only attend if they receive a scholarship. In Kenya, the average annual income is just $1,700, making nursing school well out of reach for most prospective students. While the average tuition cost is only $4,000/year—a bargain when compared to U.S. college tuition—it is still an impossible hurdle for many students and their families.
Each partner nursing schools is connected to the local church and run on Christian principles. Attention is given to the spiritual development of students along with the elements of excellence in nursing. It’s a winning combination that God will use to transform thousands of lives and hearts through the ministry of healing.