Medical Missions: One Practice’s Experience
By Nathan M. Ross, MD
OB-GYN South, P.C.
2006 Brookwood Medical Center Drive, Suite 402
Birmingham, AL 35209
For several years now I have had the pleasure of traveling to West Africa and where I've been able to help provide medical care to the people of Ghana. Although I'm trained as an OB/GYN I had the opportunity to serve in the role of a primary care provider to both men and women as well as children. I definitely had to reach back into my memory banks from medical school but managed to recall enough to make it through my time there. This year I'll have the opportunity to use my training in a mission teaching hospital in Kenya.
The first few times I went there was definitely some nervousness about being able to handle the illnesses that are unique to Africa and a third world country. But my experience was that, although there are unique illnesses there that I had only read about, the majority of patients just needed basic medical care and medications that are readily available here over the counter. I learned that the people are so very appreciative for whatever they receive.
I still have much to learn regarding how to best address and minister to the needs that I see in Africa. But the first step for me was to just go. To take that first leap and get on a plane and go. There's a price to pay for taking time away from your practice, to traveling far away, and to living and working in challenging situations. But the rewards are so much greater. It's worth the price.