You may know that refugees are flooding into southern Bangladesh, not far from Memorial Christian Hospital. You may know, too, that MCH is daily performing an average of 12 surgeries on refugee patients sent to us by MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and other organizations working in the camps. The needs, on every level, are greater than we can imagine. We are hoping to expand our ability to serve this needy people group through our partnership with Samaritan's Purse. They have already supplied funds for a temporary unit to care for the refugee patients.
Recently, I had an opportunity to visit one of the refugee camps near us. It was an experience beyond words. I cannot adequately describe the things I saw that day, but I will try to help you catch a glimpse of what it was like.
Our first stop in the camp was at the MSF clinic that sends its surgical patients to us. There were masses of people at the clinic to get help. It was helpful for us to learn about what capabilities the clinic has and what is available for follow-up care after our patients return to the camp. We enjoyed seeing some of our previous patients at the clinic for their follow-up visits and looking well.
After leaving the clinic we drove up the main road of the camp. Hill after hill has been cleared of trees and foliage and covered with tiny little tents. We saw a hill that was in the process of being cleared in preparation for more tents as still more people arrive. We passed several food distribution sites as we drove. We saw men preparing for latrine construction. Everywhere we looked we saw destitute, hurting people. It is estimated that almost one million refugees have come to Bangladesh since August. As I look at the situation around us my heart cries out with the Psalmist, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law” (Psalm 119:126).
It is bittersweet when our patients leave the hospital to go back to the camp. I am glad they are well and happy that they will be back with their families, but also sad knowing they don’t have a home to go back to. Each of these people has lost much. Many have lost family members.
Patient census in the hospital continues to be very high as we care for refugee patients as well as patients from our local community. Each member of our team is carrying a heavy load. The people in laundry are washing much more linen than normal. The doctors are seeing more patients than usual. The drivers are making more trips to town. Everyone is involved and working very hard. Please pray for us.
- Praise God for his faithfulness.
- Praise God for provision of help.
- Pray for hope and healing for our patients.
- Pray that God will sustain us.
- Pray that we will do our work carefully and well.
- Pray for direction as we make decisions about how to navigate in this situation as we go forward.
- Pray for provision of the staff needed for the increased patient volume.
-submitted by Teresa Vanderford, November 2017