Impact of Deformities in the Emerging World
Deformities, both congenital and acquired, have a profound and often negative impact in the Emerging World. Deformities may be internal as well as external. Though internal deformities may not be seen they are often more severe and debilitating. The negative effects of external deformities are seen world-wide and in every culture and civilization. In the West, children born with deformities are often operated on early and may not be seen in public. Though family members may often ask “why us,” any negative thoughts are kept to themselves. In the emerging world, children with deformities, especially external ones, are often kept inside the house where they are hidden from view, and they are only taken outside with a shawl or blanket covering the deformity or at nighttime. Treatment for deformities is often not readily available in the developing world. When they are seen by other members of the community, some think the family has been cursed or that the deformed one is indwelt with an evil spirit. When these children are brought to a mission hospital, reconstructive surgery may not completely eliminate the deformity or its consequences; however the significant improvement allows the children to be accepted into the local society. The treatment of these children gives the missionary doctor and hospital staff a great opportunity to show the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and many parents and older children have come to know Christ as their Savior.