UMC Mission Enters Healthcare

( [email protected] ) Mar 17, 2004 07:56 AM EST

Pioneering a new mission field, UMC has entered the healthcare realm in supporting Africa. For the past 3 years, Methodist healthcare of Memphis and Methodist-based St. Jude Children’s hospital in Memphis have been partnered with Africa University have joined together to enhance healthcare in Zimbabwe.

The partnership focuses on providing much needed medical training for highly infectious diseases that spread throughout the country. It does this through educating, preventing, treating, and controlling many of the most deadliest diseases.

“My dream is that United Methodists would see this joint ministry and their investment in Africa University as a good thing because of the human good now being done and the potential it has for the future,” said James Salley, associate vice-chancellor of development of United-Methodist related schools in a recent interview.

Almost 7,000 people die daily across Africa due to HIV/AIDS. The healthcare system in Africa is in such shambles that many times, the hospitals become the tool for infection through old needles and poor equipment.

Dr. Tendai Manyeza, a doctor at Africa University recently said, "The ultimate goal is to improve the survival (rate) or prevent AIDS in places where it is so prevalent," she said. She hopes that possible trials will be conducted from Africa University.

One tool currently being used in this partnership is known as distance education. Through online communications, doctors can converse and train for many medical needs from America to Africa.

Dr. Miguela A. Caniza is the director of Infectious Diseases in St. Jude's International Outreach Program. Through the partnership she said, “We learned many things from them. We learned that they have amazing strength and hope ... and vision and courage.”