Family Physician, CEO/Residency Director of In His Image
Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) face significant challenges to their health and well-being that are unique due to lack of necessary resources including food, water, sanitation, shelter, security, and healthcare. Caring for people in these situations requires an understanding of their unique needs as well as having realistic goals regarding what can and cannot be done for them.
Recent experiences in providing healthcare for the victims of disasters in Nepal, Kurdistan, and Turkey - both natural and manmade - highlight the need to be well prepared when serving in these difficult situations. Focus areas for the presentation and discussion will include team selection and preparation; travel and logistics issues; identifying and addressing the needs of the people being served, including physical, psychological, and spiritual needs; partnering with other relief organizations and local authorities; and returning home safely.
We are called to serve "the least of these," and the victims of disasters and crises certainly qualify. Often these events, though causing much hardship and suffering, create the possibility for doors and hearts to be open to the message of Jesus that otherwise would be closed. We must be both willing and well prepared if we are to serve well when we are called to respond to those in need.