21 April 2017

The Case Against "Medical Tourism"

Support for Community Wellness and Collaboration 

Over the past 20+ years I have had 
the privilege of participating in various types of volunteer missions, mostly under the auspices of the United Methodist Volunteer-in-Mission programs.   I must admit in those early years of my volunteering, I was excited to use my nursing skills in order to experience a personal sense of gratification.  I wanted to minister to the "poor" without giving much attention to where I was going, who the "poor" were or what their self-identified needs were.  This type of volunteering offers the provider short-term self-satisfaction and may or may not provide meaningful help  to the targeted "poor".

Recently, "medical tourism" has grown exponentially in popularity.  Some travel agencies offer "medical mission" experiences for health professionals that combine sightseeing in developing countries with brief outpatient clinic time that is designed to satisfy the participants' altruistic dreams.

Today, the world is experiencing widespread malnutrition, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.  There are locations where malaria is an endemic fact of life.  To be effective, volunteers must identify those needs and respond.  Here are some simple guidelines for individuals and health professionals who are serious about responding to the health crises among the poor:

1.  Preparation for a "community health" team should include contact with a "vetted" site that has a local host who will receive the group.

2.   A team leader is needed who obtains information from the host regarding community's long-term health needs; things that help prevent disease and sustain health, i.e., clean water, sewage disposal, need for dependable water source, food security, health teaching/health promoter education, vector control sexual health education, etc.

3.   Long-term health maintenance or community health may not be only about the need for health professionals but often requires farming education, health promoter education and long-term/long distance collaboration,  advice on latrines, well placement, insect control, food preparation and storage, etc.

Many skill sets are needed and useful to promote long-term community health.  Volunteers can be in long-term partnership and collaboration with locals in target communities.  You may be one of those individuals.

For more information, contact the United Methodist Mission Volunteer Office at mv@umcmission.org.  United Methodist Volunteers in Mission sponsors a variety of mission opportunities.

13 April 2017

Medical Outreach Program in Remote Zimbabwe

Excerpt from United Methodist News Service:
Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UMNS              Excerpt from United Methodist News Service:
The Rev. Portia Kanoyangwa was the first to receive treatment during a medical outreach program conducted by The United Methodist Church in the Chitungwiza and Marondera rural districts of Zimbabwe. A total of 355 patients with various ailments benefited from the free program. 

Hundreds benefit from medical outreach

By Kudzai Chingwe
April 12, 2017 | HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS)

A total of 355 patients with various ailments from the Chitungwiza and Marondera rural districts benefited from a free medical outreach program conducted by The United Methodist Church. The program targeted people from disadvantaged communities who needed routine treatment, while complicated cases were referred to well-established medical institutions.

The program, which in March gave locals from Xanadu village free treatment of malaria, cancer, diarrhea and HIV/AIDS, saw hundreds being treated while 87 underwent voluntary counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS, with seven new cases being recorded. At St. Michaels Center in Marondera, 67 people living with visual-impairment conditions received treatment.
Dr. Ngoni Mwakutuya, head of the medical team, said the church would continue working with the government and its programs to the fulfillment of the church’s social responsibility.

CDC Update: Zika

Please view this video, produced last week regarding Zika.  Much of the information contained here is pertinent to UMVIM Teams traveling to tropical, Zika prone areas of the world.  Remember to prepare groups by following the suggestions found in the video, below:

05 April 2017

New Resource for Supporting Community Health

Hesperian's book Recruiting the Heart, Training the Brain shows just how much impact community involvement can have on health. The book explores the history and strategies of Latino Health Access, an organization that trains promotores -- men and women, youth and elders -- who know their neighborhoods inside-out and are best placed to educate and organize their neighbors. LHA promotores have been successful in organizing an array of local public health projects, from teaching healthy cooking for diabetes prevention to building a park where children have a safe place to exercise.

02 April 2017

WHO and UM Support health crises in Nigeria

WHO Staff Educate Local Health Volunteers

United Methodist Nigeria Health Board Reaches 30 Remote Villages with Malaria Prevention and Treatment

Jennifer Schumacher-Kocik is a senior program manager in Health and Development with the Global Health unit, Global Ministries
Four countries—Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, and Uganda—account for nearly 50 percent of deaths due to malaria (from CDC and USAID reports, 2013). Nigeria is the worst hit, with more reported malaria cases and deaths than any other country in the world. With a population of about 170 million, many rural and hard-to-reach villages are often left out of national malaria control efforts. These remote and forgotten villages have been the focus of the Rural Health program of the United Methodist Church in Nigeria. The Nigerian Health Board has been responding to the challenge of malaria in remote villages tucked in the nooks of the Sandstone Mountains of northeastern Nigeria along the banks of the Upper Benue River and stretching across Federated States of Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, and Adamawa.
A long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN) distribution in Nigeria. 
A long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN) distribution in Nigeria. Photo: Global Health/Global Ministries
The aim of the Rural Health program is to reach the most vulnerable, pregnant women, and children under age five with LLINs, malaria diagnosis, and treatment services in these underserved villages. Services are provided through two mobile clinics supported by Imagine No Malaria grants from the General Board of Global Ministries. The first phase of bed-net distribution in 2014 reached 3,400 women in 10 villages. The second phase in 2015 was targeted to reach 15,000 pregnant and nursing mothers in 30 villages. The health board hopes to reach even more villages with nets and services in 2016.
This story was originally published in the New World Outlook, May-June 2016 issue. Used by permission.

July 27-August 6, 2017. McEachern UMC is sending a team to Gwandum, Nigeria next summer to install solar power infrastructure at the United Methodist Computer Institute. No special skills are needed, though a training session for solar power installation is recommended; the team leader can provide more information on this. The cost is currently estimated to be between $2000-$2500. For more information, contact team leader Jeff Jernigan at jsjernigan@aol.com

27 March 2017

Mission Academy for Volunteers Set

Save the Date!   
September 10-13, 2017

The South Central Jurisdiction Mission Academy will take place September 10-13, 2017 in the Great Plains Conference. Our location this year is the Leadership Center in Aurora, Nebraska. The Leadership Center offers a serene, scenic setting, with many activities to do between sessions.

Want to know what topics you can expect at this year's event? How about you give us your thoughts! Follow this link to rate potential topics and share a few of your own ideas! 

And be sure to add the September 10-13, 2017 Mission Academy to your Calendar! We hope to see you for this awesome experience of fellowship, worship, and strengthening our missional response!


Audrey J. Phelps
Dir. UMVIM & Disaster Response
South Central Jurisdiction

In Partnership with UMCOR, United Methodist Committee on Relief

23 March 2017

United Methodist Global Ministries:

The Spirit is always moving:
You can be a part of its health and wellness mission

17 March 2017


Are you free this summer to serve God in new and unique ways? Do you have a couple of months this fall to give to others? The Missions Volunteers office is looking for people interested in serving as long-term volunteers! Applications are now being accepted for the next training event which will be held May 3-6 at the Epworth Forest Conference Center in Indiana. This is the last training event before summer! Deadline to complete the application is April 10. Opportunities to serve from around the world, as well as the application form, can be found at www.missionvolunteers.org. For more information, contact the Mission Volunteers office at mv@umcmissions.org.

The Haitian Methodist Church is seeking an experience volunteer - couple or individual - to fill the role as Assistant VIM Coordinator to help with teams coming to Haiti. The volunteer/s will assist the Guest House Manager in team orientations and debriefings, management of projects, and general support. The position is located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The assistant is needed beginning in June or July for a three month commitment.  Only those who have served previously in Haiti on mission teams will be considered. For more information on this opportunity, please contact the Global Ministries Mission Volunteers office at mv@umcmission.org.

The JOSHUA Program, a summer service program focused on community revitalization in the Ohio Valley Region, is seeking two long-term volunteers for Construction Director and Volunteer Coordinator for the upcoming summer season of work. Housing is provided by the program, as are most meals. If you are available May - August for this unique opportunity to show the love of Christ to others, please contact the Mission Volunteers office at mv@umcmission.org<mailto:mv@umcmission.org>.

Katherine Smith
Sr. Program Associate; Mission Volunteers
ksmith@umcmission.org<mailto:ksmith@umcmission.org>; 404-460-7192; ext. 1145 (fax: 404-942-4243)

Global Ministries | The United Methodist Church
458 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE | Atlanta, GA 30308