I’ve noticed an interesting pattern in my global health work. Anytime I seem to get proud or content with the accomplishments of our Ghana Health Team, I receive a stark reminder that humbles me and reminds me that there is much more work to be done. It happened again this week.
A health care colleague in Ghana sent me an urgent message and photo regarding a critically ill young patient. We discussed the medical details of the care needed and I signed off saying “my heart breaks to see the picture of this child.”
She responded, “Don’t let your heart brake Doctor, I will support her for sure.”
I am certain these moments are God’s way of preventing me, a privileged health care provider in the developed world, from getting complacent with my efforts. In fact, looking back, these devastating reminders always become a catalyst for something within me. For change. For perspective. For stepping outside my comfort zone. For not allowing my heart to “brake” but rather to accelerate towards helping to create a more preferable future for my global neighbours.
Our next mission departs in less than 100 days. Sixty-eight of the busiest people I know are preparing for an intense time of service. Hundreds of NEA staff and volunteers are busy preparing for and anticipating our arrival. I challenge myself and my colleagues and our supporters to ensure that our foot is not on the brake in any way. Rather, may our hearts and minds and efforts be firmly on the accelerator as we drive on towards our objectives of exposing ourselves to the needs of the majority (developing) world, visiting the sick, training health professionals and helping NEA reach their goal of sustainable health care for all.
“Brake” was definitely not a typo — it was a well-timed reminder.
Pedal to the metal,
Pictured here are 11 of our wonderful Ghanaian health care colleagues who Dr. Jensen and I had the privilege of training to be trainers in neonatal resuscitation. Through their efforts and the efforts of their trainees in 156 communities and 45 facilities, 1037 (97%) of non-breathing babies have been successfully resuscitated since this picture was taken. We are so proud of the support they provide to children every day in Northern Ghana!