I’m back in the office after the Developing Health Course, analysing feedback forms, tying up loose ends and reflecting on the hectic two weeks we had.What have the participants taken away from the course? These days you can learn everything about everything on the internet – guidelines, protocols, facts, figures and photos – they’re all there on Google. So what have we learnt that goes beyond Google?
Priorities and Practicals
It can be hard to see the wood for the trees when wading through the plethora of resources out there. Speakers with experience help us understand the priorities – we’ve been given a broad overview and then been shown what’s important. We’ve learnt how the guidelines actually work in practice and heard stories of real patients whose lives have been changed as a result.
You can’t practise clinical skills on the internet but the course’s workshops gave hands-on experience. ‘Learning has never been such fun!’ said one participant. Everyone enjoyed plastering wrists and making skin grafts out of oranges. We had a go at giving spinal anaesthetics, putting in interosseous needles and pulling out teeth. Practising skin suturing was quite restful, though working on the episiotomy models made the women among us a little uncomfortable! Of course practising on models for an afternoon doesn’t make you a competent surgeon but it does give you confidence that with a bit more help, these are skills you could learn and use.
Hearing about the difference that God makes in people’s lives and work is one of the things which makes the course unique. You definitely don’t learn this on Google! The excellent maternity services at Lamb Hospital in Bangladesh developed as hospital staff studied the Bible and learned that women are of equal worth to men, and precious in God’s sight. We heard about the amazing contribution that Christian hospitals have made in many African countries – 40% of healthcare provision in some places, and prioritising the poor. Jesus’ mission to bring both good news to the poor and healing for the sick (Luke 4:18) has been a motivation for many. We were challenged to see these two things not as separate jobs that we have to fulfill but as inseparable parts of our lives and work as Christian doctors and nurses.
It’s exciting to think about the impact of this course. From this year’s 61 participants, people are returning or going for the first time to 17 different countries. They will take their newly acquired knowledge and skills to care for many hundreds of patients, and to teach others who will care for many hundreds more, so that thousands of people will be treated, healed and cared for in the name of Christ.