Current Strategy of the MAP Ministry
- Local Government/ Community Partnership – When we go into a community, we work closely with the government. We come through the barangay (village) officials and get the cooperation of the people. When we offer services, we ask them to provide a building or house to use as a station. We lead them in identifying their health problems and then ask them possible solutions. The health care system therefore becomes their project.
- Community Immersion – Our personnel agree to live with the people for three years, during which time we should be able to develop village health workers and health promoters. Curative care can immediately begin. Our nurse practitioners are trained in the five most common illnesses in the area. In effect, they act as local doctors but refer to our circuit doctors any problematic cases or diseases beyond their training. For patients who need to stay for a day or two for treatment, we have asked each village to build a hut within the perimeter of the medical mission. Patients maintain their own huts and stay for free.
- Community Empowerment – A village pharmacy is established as the community’s project. We donate seed money to purchase medicines and keep shelves supplied. We ask people to pay for their medicines unless they are extremely poor. (We used to dole out medicines to people, but many of them feigned sickness to obtain medicines and sell them to their neighbours). We sell the medicines with a 10 % mark-up for handling services. We teach the people that this is necessary to keep medicines available for their use.
- Community Health Training/Education – Within the three-year project period, the nurses also train people handpicked by their own community to become village health workers and health promoters. These barangay health workers (BHWs) / Family Health Workers (FHWs) work alongside the nurses as assistants in the clinic and in lecture groups. They learn about common diseases in the locality, get acquainted with the common medicines used and run the pharmacy themselves. The nurses’ responsibility becomes supervisory.
- Health Committee Formations – To safeguard the work of the BHWs and running of the village pharmacy, the nurses and doctors organize a local health committee. Members are elected by the villagers. The committee’s responsibility is to oversee the health care work done by the BHWs. At the end of three years the village is ready to run its own primary health care station with periodic visits form their own former nurses and doctors. Through all these activities, BHWs are told about Jesus Christ and trained to be lay leaders in the local churches, if and when they become Christians.
- Disciple Making – The doctors and nurses also perform an evangelistic and discipleship ministry. The health care program includes active witnessing and personal discipleship efforts with the village health workers.
This approach is cost effective. It is not a hospital, so there are no requirements for permits, licenses or fees, building specifications, or a minimum of three shifts of nurses. The doctors and nurses just make house calls. What is more, gospel sharing is easily integrated in this activity.