This description has not changed over the last year. We are working in remote Central Africa with unreached Muslim people groups. We serve the community by providing clean water through wells, sanitation, hygiene, and basic health education, and we work with communities on various self-identified health needs. We are also treating numerous villages affected by schistosomiasis and training community dental extraction specialists. We hope to expand the medical education component of our training to include prenatal care, childbirth management, and resuscitation of newborns. The Gospel is spread through Word and Deed. We have very close, genuine, and transparent friendships with our neighbors who know the reason for the hope within us; as do the people we serve. We also are members of a local small church of transplanted southern believers and aid them with outreach, including a showing of the Jesus film each Christmas.
The Schistosomiasis Treatment work has again expanded to over 4000 treated this year and over 9000 children treated in the last three years. A decision will need to be made in the coming years as to our level engagement of this issue. I could work on this issue full time if we engaged the entire region more comprehensively. This could include developing community health workers, engaging another NGO, or formal collaboration with the government systems. However, this would force a major shift in the core of our mission statement and where we hoped to devote our time. Specifically, we would move away from deepening relationships with a few villages which show openness to our presence and the Gospel. We recently purchased an ultrasound to identify the impact of schistosomiasis in the region, but have not begun using it over the last year; this was due partly to a spate of truck hijackings, limiting our freedom to move around the region. We continue to drill new water wells and subsequently have completed hygiene and sanitation training with over 2500 people in these villages.
I piloted a primary care effort (Why Weight?) in one village and a small sample size in our neighborhood which focuses on taking regular weights and heights of children and training locals to perform very basic physical exams. Expansion of this program is still under consideration. Through the help of a short term visitor, we completed a First Aid training for 108 local motorcycle taxi drivers as well as an anthropological study on the perspectives on trauma in the region. Both efforts are likely headed towards publication.
A visiting Christian facial surgeon has started to visit Central Africa on an annual basis. We found and helped arrange for two young girls to receive cleft lip surgery in the capital in addition to 3 others who received a consult and hope to obtain surgery during the next surgical visit.
The bulk of our work consists of performing hygiene lessons in communities with new water wells and working alongside villages during various health projects. We have expanded the total number of individuals educated on transmission of disease, hand washing, oral rehydration, and sanitation to over 2500. Additionally, in the last year, we have treated over 4000 children for schistosomiasis, now treating over 9000 children.
Our MedSend Grant has been indispensable to our mission to serve the people of Central Africa. Without the grant, we would still be in the United States paying off debt. Additionally, our teammates are also MedSend grantees, meaning that we would not be serving nearly as many people as a team without MedSend. THANK YOU!