On September 11, the U.S. Department of State recommended that U.S. citizens currently in Chad depart as soon as possible. With this evacuation underway, many U.S. citizens working at both Béré Adventist Hospital and Béré Adventist Nutrition Training Center returned to the United States or traveled to alternative mission sites where they could still provide aid.
Both of these Béré medical facilities are affiliated hospitals with Adventist Health International (AHI) and the Global Health Institute (GHI), currently serving as homes to several Loma Linda University Health alumni. Due to the evacuation, the training center was closed. There simply were no physical bodies to continue running the clinic.
Six long weeks later, many of the U.S. citizens that were working at Béré have chosen to return and the facility is reopened to the public. According to Zachary Gately, alumni of Loma Linda University School of Public Health currently serving as a Global Service Awardee (GSA) in Chad, the center is now well staffed and they are looking forward to seeing what the coming months will bring.
“Here we are in the middle of Africa trying to help people see that there is help, that there is prevention, and most of all, there is hope,” Gately expressed.
Working at the the Nutrition Center, Gately shares that this location holds a unique place in the community. Many mothers come out of curiosity. Others have no idea how to properly feed growing infants and toddlers. For some, this seems like their last hope after they’ve tried so many other things. It also happens to be the place that many of the mothers find out they have HIV/AIDS. This sickness is often the reason that the children do not gain weight or continue to get sicker.
The value that this facility has to the community is immeasurable. Throughout the years it has gained a reputation as a health care facility where mothers can come and learn how to provide better, healthier lives for their struggling children.
During the evacuation several student missionaries that had just begun their service at Béré relocated to alternate mission sites. Their presence at Béré will be greatly missed and Gately expressed the sadness that was felt at the loss of the students to various sites. “They were a great help and addition to the day-to-day life of the Center,” Gately said.
The work being done at this hospital is essential to the community. So many mothers rely on the information and help that is provided and it is because of the health care providers, both local and missionary, like Gately, that this center continues to grow. Please choose today to help make a difference in the lives of these struggling mothers and children. Whether it is through prayers, donations, or if you have an interest in volunteering in the mission field, please contact AHI today and remember, that every small act of compassion can make a difference in the lives of these small children.