At the Missionary Medical Intensive in Marion, NC, I spent eight days learning about travel health, public health, and tropical medicine. We were taught in traditional classroom style by several different practitioners with a wide variety of experiences: a doctor who spent many years of practice at a Navaho reservation, a nurse practitioner who has practiced his whole career in the developing world, a first assistant who spent 20 years in the operating room, and others. Class began at eight in the morning and lasted until dinner with a break for lunch. After dinner, we were responsible for completing (in my case) 60+ case studies (beautifully written and color pictures) covering a wide variety of common tropical diseases in East Africa.
Water purification, malaria, TB, AIDS/HIV, diabetes, childbirth, first aid, immunizations, common emergencies, suturing, medication administration, fluid replacement therapy and rehydration techniques, treatment of malnutrition, ortho injuries, burn treatment, as well as other subjects were covered. The following are a few highlights from the course.
Making an NG tube with an IV catheter and a candle for melting (see picture below).
Constructing a plaster splint for a pretend patient with a “fracture”.
The extensive lesson on malaria: pathology, treatment, and prevention.
Learning to use Dr Mary’s book, The Village Healthcare Handbook, a great diagnostic tool for health care in the developing world.
Seeing a “tippy-tap,” a homemade hand-washing device made from an old bleach bottle, for use when there is no running water.
Learning to suture from a nurse practitioner who cried during her lecture when speaking of the marvels of the human body.
Getting to “deliver a baby” (on a model) and supervised by an OB doc.
Discovering the CDC website and the “Yellow Book”, The CDC Health Information for International Travel 2010, a handy resource for missionary health.
Teaching laypeople in the class to do injections (on one other).
Learning how to treat a malnourished child.
Mastering rehydration calculations and learning how to make rehydration fluids.
Learning how to sterilize my own instruments.
Getting the straight story on medications sold the developing world.
I am deeply thankful to the Downtown Church who sent me to this course and supports all of our preparation for the mission field. Never before have I known such a church–she believes in me and repeatedly empowers me to follow my calling. May God’s power multiply the knowledge I learned at MMI, and may He help me to share that knowledge with the Makonde people as freely as it was given to me. May this whole project glorify God in the upmost, eternal ways.