To Heal the Sick

By GotDesign
Recently, we had a guest speaker in my Sunday school class who really has one of the keys to helping with health issues in Third World countries. Dr. Alynne MacLean is the founder and director of Science with a Mission (SMI), Inc. During Dr. MacLean's studies and her travels, she came to understand that one of the major hurdles in dealing with medical issues in the Third World is diagnosis. Because of the tax breaks, many pharmaceutical companies are more than happy to provide medications for practically any illness. But the problem is getting an accurate diagnosis before starting treatment. Many doctors who work in impoverished countries can only diagnose an illness by noting the symptoms displayed and then guessing. The truly lucky physicians may have access to a microscope. But Dr. MacLean is developing diagnostic tools that will vastly improve the ability to diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases.

If you've ever been in the military, you've had a "whiz quiz" -- a urinalysis. A significant number of women have used a home pregnancy test. In both cases, a small quantity of urine is placed on a test strip and, after a few minutes, results are displayed by either a color change on the paper or the appearance of a + (plus) or - (minus) to indicate the results of the test. Very simple. You're either pregnant or you're not. You've used drugs or you haven't.

Dr. MacLean is using this same technology to diagnose illnesses in Third World countries. Recently, Dr. MacLean delivered 5,000 malaria tests and 1,000 typhoid tests to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently, through Dr. MacLean's work and the efforts of a few others, a small amount of blood is all that is required to test for Malaria , Typhoid, HIV 1/2, Dengue IgG/IgM, Hepatitis B, H.pylori, Tuberculosis, Syphilis, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. Can you imagine how effective this would be in diagnosing and treating villagers in the remote regions of Congo, Nepal, Burkina Faso, and similar nations? Previously, this kind of work could only have been done with microscopes. A small village would take several weeks to diagnose before beginning treatment. Now, with a simple blood test can quickly screen for the diseases listed above and begin treatment. Also, this type of diagnostic testing can be done without needing a doctor or nurse on-site. Roving medical teams can be much more effective in their efforts using these diagnostics.

So what? What's the big deal? The big deal is that I'm asking you to consider helping Science With a Mission by donating to their efforts. With your help, diagnostics can be developed for even more diseases. With your help, more of the existing diagnostic tests can be distributed throughout the world to quickly diagnose and treat diseases and reduce their death rates. Please go to the SMI website and look at their work. Contact Dr. MacLean and ask her to come and speak to your church or organization about this important work. And, in addition to anything else you may do for SMI, please pray for Dr. MacLean and SMI. The work could be the beginning to reducing the impact of diseases in Third World and impoverished nations.

Editorial Update: After publishing this post I received a few corrections regarding the technical aspects of SMI's work and the diagnostic methods they use. It is important for you to have an accurate understanding of what SMI does and the impact they can achieve. Thanks.


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