For over seven decades EMAS Canada has used healthcare as a tool for communicating God’s love through teams that provide medical and dental care.
Helping partners all over the world with better medical infrastructure and equipment; knowledge and clinical skills, have been key expressions of our mission, especially in China. The traditional method of operation was teams spreading out widely and traveling to several different countries.
However, stricter regulations for international aid agencies and travel restrictions nearly paralysed our Asia operations during 2019; this year the COVID-19 pandemic made it almost impossible to serve anywhere, effectively shutting down our operations for the remainder of the year.
There is a growing likelihood of continued restrictions for clinical teams to enter China.
Timely action now will enable our mission to thrive and remain a service vehicle for our volunteers.1
Preparing for the Future
The EMAS board, staff and team leaders take the stewardship of our mission, and the people God has entrusted to us for the future, very seriously.
Our present reality is that team/mission-based funding fluctuates with traveling volunteers and is not a sustainable option for our long-term growth; we are searching for ways to increase revenue by focusing on projects that show case our core values. This will unburden future teams from an increase in shared ministry administrative costs and convert volunteers who are no longer available to travel into long-term donors.
We are scouting for new beachheads, service opportunities in places like Uganda, Cambodia, and Zimbabwe; and for ways to increase support for teams making long-term investments through training of leaders for healthcare.
We are looking for sites where opportunities for Education, Medical Aid and Service converge in one location.
Three immediate benefits can be expected for working in such multi-service locations:
- Reduced cost of service through shared travel and accommodation arrangements to a common site for multiple teams, and a reduction in the cost of supplies through bulk purchases with a more consistent and controlled “shopping list”.
- A widening of the scope of services for our partners. For example: an annual medical education conference and diabetes clinic can improve laboratory diagnostic services for all clinical departments.
- Different teams will collaborate by serving the same community and the opportunity for collegial leadership will bring more skills to the care and nurture of volunteers.
On our horizon for 2021 is participation in the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe’s strategic plan for the rehabilitation of its health ministries. This church has taken a holistic approach for its regional mission, and is seeking relationships that will foster development. Through its 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, it is aiming “to address the spiritual, physical, and social needs of people through: ……education and empowering of able-bodied and special needs persons, and provision of health services, and community development”2
This church is targeting the upgrading of Gutu Mission Hospital facilities, and training its staff to provide:
- Clinical services as a first level referral hospital and to be the gateway filtering more difficult problems for tertiary care.
- Continuing Medical Education and supervision for all district health staff based at 29 smaller satellite clinics
- Research and health information management for resource allocation and technical efficiency.
EMAS Canada envisions coming alongside them with a program that will enhance the leadership role of GMH as the hub for district healthcare by3:
- Investing in Education for all staff at the Gutu Mission Hospital
- Addressing the need for appropriate facilities through Medical Aid
- Deploying multidisciplinary teams for Service in collaboration with Zimbabwean medical workers.
Volunteer in 2021
This and other exciting prospects in India, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and northern Haiti, are service opportunities that are open to Canadian volunteers in 2021.
For more information on how EMAS Canada is repositioning to serve after the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can participate on any EMAS Canada project, send an email inquiry to the Executive Director.
Donations can be made to the COVID-19 EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND or any team of your choice.
1 Proverbs 22:3
2 Reformed Church in Zimbabwe Strategic Plan 2019-2024. Quoted with permission of the General Secretary, Rev. T. Masimba.
3A Ten-year Vision for EMAS Canada and Gutu Mission Hospital Partnership, concept paper by EMAS Canada staff and Zimbabwe Gutu team.
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.