Love never fails
Hui Kheng A
In MSI healthcare projects, we hope our training will equip local healthcare workers to better serve patients. However, the training must go beyond skill acquisition if our aim is for holistic service.
I was involved in the LA County Community Health Project in 2019. During the village health fair, MSI medical short term teams together with local healthcare workers screened as many as two to three hundred villagers for hypertension and diabetes and treated them for other medical conditions over 3 days. I remember a female villager who had body aches and pains. It would have been easy to have just prescribed some painkillers and send her off. However, our short term team referred her to talk with me about her worries because I have been trained in counselling. As she spoke in the local dialect, I could only surmise she had no one to share her troubles with. I offered her a simple suggestion to “talk to the heavens” as it would have been inappropriate to suggest praying in the local context. Next day, she returned to look for me. Anticipating she might want to address deeper needs, I quickly got hold of our local intern to join us because he could speak the local dialect. Indeed, the deeper pain was the death of her only daughter. We also found out she is of the same faith and our local intern was able to comfort her with words from our Good Book.
We conducted health fairs in 5 villages of LA County in 2019. Dr L was able to join all 5 health fairs to work alongside our short termer doctors and to learn from them. The last village we visited was her own village. Her intellectually disabled brother and physically disabled cousin attended the health fair and received good medical attention from the team. During the debriefing at the end of the health fair, she was asked to give her feedback. Holding back her emotions, she stood up to say, “Did MSI teachers notice how dirty and how foul-smelling our villagers are? Yet you hold them and hug them.” With that, she sat down.
Giving a good medical lecture or teaching a medical skill is not too difficult. But genuine love leaves a deep and lasting impact that no one will ever forget.