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The Great Physician in Yaodonkho: Hands in Ghana Series

July 25, 2017
by Sheila Leech

Sheila Leech, Vice President of International Healthcare for Reach Beyond and a team leader for the 2017 Ghana medical internship, shares a series of stories from the experiences there. This is one of them.

The sun was beating down on the tin roof of the temporary "clinic" set up in the village of Yaodonkho, West Africa. Normally used as a small market area, the clinic shared space with vendors offering boiled peanuts, bread and corn. The hubbub of conversation was constant and perhaps distracting for the doctors and medical staff.

The two interns monitoring "vital signs" of the patients were busy taking blood pressures on the adults, weighing the children and checking for fever. Their workstation was outside of the market area, on the dirt floor under the green leafy banana trees. About one hundred people were milling around giving the appearance of organized chaos.

Julianna- one of the interns- called out that they had a sick child. Children with high fevers can be susceptible to febrile convulsions so our policy is to "fast track " children with high fevers straight to the doctors, instead of making them wait in line.

        Cristabel’s mother had walked miles under the hot sun ..., carrying her sick child on her back.

        She now prepared for the long trip home.

Little Cristabel was very sick. Her underarm temperature was 39.2 C, her chest sounded bubbly and she was lethargic and irritated, crying a lot. Dr. Joe Martin was concerned. We needed to reduce her fever and quickly. Unfortunately Cristabel was unable to take fluids or swallow medicine without vomiting. The nurses quickly administered a suppository and an antibiotic shot to the sick child. She barely reacted to the uncomfortable procedure and the painful shot, indicating that she was severely ill. It was the best and most we could do for her, medically.

Cristabel’s mother had walked miles under the hot sun from her home to the clinic that day, carrying her sick child on her back. She now prepared for the long trip home. Before leaving the clinic the team gathered to pray for Cristabel, asking God to put His healing hand upon her. Members of the team then drove them back to their village.

Thirty minutes later the car returned. Joseph Kebbie excitedly shared a video clip he had taken when they dropped off Cristabel and her mother at home. To our amazement, Cristabel was in her mother’s arms outside her home, smiling and waving as the team drove away!  Was it a quick response to the medicines given, or an answer to prayer? Maybe both? We were ecstatic and rejoicing for her improvement.

We work with awesome, dedicated doctors, but we are SO grateful and privileged to be working with the Great Physician Himself. We treat, but It is God who heals. What a blessing to be available to help children like Cristabel in the village of Yaodonkho today.