In a groundbreaking cooperative ministry effort, 20 doctors, dentists, pharmacists and nurses recently spent two weeks bringing much-needed medical help to prisoners in seven prisons in the African nation of Zambia.
More than 3,500 prisoners, approximately one-fourth the entire prison population of the nation, received assistance during the mission, which took place Nov. 8-22. In addition, more than $20,000 worth of medicines were distributed. The joint effort was sponsored by Prison Fellowship International and the Christian Medical & Dental Society.
Temporary clinics were set up to process the hundreds of prisoners who waited in long lines. At one station, teams of four or five doctors tended to medical needs. At another station, nurses provided injections and dressings. At yet another, dentists performed extractions, restorations and sealings.
The most common medical ailments included tuberculosis, dysentery, skin diseases, and AIDS. The team also conducted evangelistic meetings at the prisons, where over 200 prisoners made first-time commitments to Jesus Christ.
The medical personnel all paid their own way for the trip. Zambian volunteers from Prison Fellowship Zambia were recruited to assist and work alongside the American and Australian professionals.
At a closing dinner for the team, the nation’s Minister of Health said, “Your work is an inspiration to us. I look forward to dedicating health professionals from my own staff to assist you in your efforts to minister in our nation’s prisons.”
The trip was one of a series conducted by Prison Fellowship International under the Global Assistance Projects (GAP) program. Trips planned for 1997 include going to El Salvador (construction); Nepal (medical); Bolivia (business development) and Peru (construction/medical), as well as another medical trip to Zambia.
— E.P. News