Samaritan’s Purse is a fairly eclectic organization. I chuckle whenever I think about how my grandmother, when learning that I was going to join SP in Congo, wanted to argue that I was moving to Africa to pack shoe boxes. Among SP’s varied programs, the organization’s greatest passion is to provide emergency relief in a distinctly Christian manner. I have had the honor to spend the past three weeks in southeast Bangladesh, where over 850,000 Rohingya refugees have fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar (Burma). Since December, there has been a major diphtheria outbreak in what is one of the largest refugee camps in the world. Samaritan’s Purse has responded by opening a Diphtheria Treatment Isolation Center (DTIC) in the southern part of the camp. The clinic has been extremely busy. As most health facilities are in the northern half of the camp, we have seen a disproportionately high number of patients and admitted more severe diphtheria cases than any other clinic last week.
Our nurses have done a remarkable job entertaining and loving on our patients. I can't credit for these photos, but I thought they were too good not to share.
My role here is a little different than what I am accustomed to doing in Niger. As the Medical Information Officer, I am responsible for Samaritan’s Purse’s reporting to the World Health Organization. I also act as Samaritan’s Purse’s focal point for contact tracing, which involves collaborating with other actors to locate and provide prophylaxis to families of admitted diphtheria patients.
My colleagues have done a tremendous job in constructing the DTIC. Only months ago, the land where the clinic and refugee camp are situated was jungle. This quick transformation has had some interesting (and sad) consequences, like elephants returning to their former homes. I was recently woken up at 4 AM in the morning by the commotion caused when a lost and frustrated elephant began stampeding through the camp.
|This painting of the Good Samaritan hangs in our triage waiting area. The artist is one of our Buddhist employees.|
Please pray for the Rohingya people. This Muslim ethnic group has suffered greatly, and our hearts have broken many times hearing their stories and seeing their children suffer from diphtheria and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Pray that they would see the love of Christ through us, and that their complicated social situation would soon improve.
|We had some special guests last week. I will let you guess who.|
More information on the diphtheria outbreak and Samaritan’s Purse’s response can be found via the links below. The content expressed in this blog is in no way meant to represent the opinions of Samaritan’s Purse.