Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Help Hospitals in Uganda Purchase Medical Supplies

A number of years ago, I remember reading a book about poverty. It became very popular and was even on the best-seller list. But while the author, Michael Harrington, was writing primarily about Americans who were poor, he offered keen insights on what it is like for anyone to be poor and — in many ways — invisible. He was referring to the ways that we “look past” those who are poor.


Poverty isn't being broke; poverty is never having enough.

Betty Jane Wylie

Dear John,

A number of years ago, I remember reading a book about poverty. It became very popular and was even on the best-seller list. But while the author, Michael Harrington, was writing primarily about Americans who were poor, he offered keen insights on what it is like for anyone to be poor and — in many ways — invisible. He was referring to the ways that we “look past” those who are poor.

For example, when we are driving down the street, are we really bothered at the sight of dilapidated housing which is obviously inadequate for human beings? Or, have we become so accustomed to seeing it that we simply “look past” the images of poverty that surround us?

I thought about this the other day when I received a letter from Sr. Mary Babirye — a missionary who lives and works in Lira, Uganda, in East Africa. Sr. Mary is in charge of the Iceme Health Center, in the Oyam District in the northern region of Uganda. In her letter, she wrote of the incredible need for medical equipment for the centers which serves thousands of men, women and children.

“The community where we serve is very poor,” Sr. Mary writes. “And because of this, we do not charge the people for the care we provide. As a result, we do not have the income we need to purchase medical supplies and other basic hospital items that most people in the U.S. and Europe might expect when they go for medical treatment. For example, the beds and mattresses are old. There are no sheets on the mattresses.”

“Can you imagine that in other countries?” she continued. “Can you imagine having to go to a hospital and not having a decent mattress or sheets to lie on? We also need to make improvements in the materials we use for the safe delivery of health services for pregnant mothers and infant children.”

“We urgently need to purchase equipment for the delivery of health services to the patients we serve on a daily basis. This is because the current instruments we use are either terribly worn out — some with rust on them — or we simply do not have enough of them.”

“While we need medical equipment for many areas of the medical center, most of what we purchase will be used for the maternity ward and for the general use by other patients as well. Included in this are a delivery bed, scales, a stretcher, hospital beds, mattresses, bedding, an electric sterilizer, wheel chairs and other items. Is there some way you can help us?”

As I read Sr. Mary’s letter, I could not help but think — if you are like me — how things like sheets and decent hospital beds are often taken for granted by us here in the U.S. Can you imagine going to a hospital and not having a decent bed to lie on? Or the doctor not having the machine he or she needed to sterilize their equipment?

My friend, is there some way you can help us provide the assistance that medical centers like Sr. Mary’s need to care for those who are suffering?

As I write this letter to you, I am praying that we can raise at least $32,000 to provide the Iceme Health Center in Uganda and our other missions throughout Africa with the help they need to care for those who are lacking basic medical assistance. As I wrote at the beginning of my letter, it can be so easy to look past the needs of the poor. But even though we may not see them, they are still there. And they need our help.

Please know how grateful I am for all that you have done to care for those who are suffering. I pray that God will bless you and your loved ones for all that you continue to do.