Global Health 2017 Support for People Living with Disabilities
Recognizing that there are over 1 billion people in the world living with disabilities, the Global Health unit of Global Ministries continues to strategize ways in which we can expand our reach around the world. We are very active in supporting both international and domestic programs. We currently support programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the United States (Michigan and Virginia).
Below is a description of each disability program supported in 2017:
International Day of the African Child: Hope for Children with Disabilities
The Global Health Unit of Global Ministries recognizes the significance of education for all children. Every child should have the opportunity to go to school, no matter the cost. Through its partnership with United Methodist associations, the Abundant Health Initiative is paying the school fees of several students with disabilities who are attending schools in Nigeria, eastern DRC, and Liberia.
• Children in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Eastern DRC: Children with disabilities in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Eastern DRC are generally enrolled in schools, however their parents are not exempt from paying school fees. The Abundant Health Initiative pays for tuition fees for disabled children from United Methodist families who are enrolled in schools in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and eastern DRC.
• Hope for the Deaf School: The Hope for the Deaf School is a Global Ministries-funded program through the Liberia Annual Conference. The Abundant Health Initiative pays for Hope for the Deaf student school fees. Hope for the Deaf is located in The United Methodist Church’s headquarters in Monrovia, Liberia. Their goal is to provide deaf and hearing-impaired children with the opportunity to develop meaningful, productive lives. Most of the students commute at least two miles daily to get to and from school. There were 64 students enrolled for the 2016–2017 academic year: 24 girls and 40 boys. In the inclusive education program, in collaboration with the Free Pentecostal High School in downtown Monrovia, there were 14 students in grades 7 –12: nine boys and five girls.
Prosthesis Program, Sierra Leone, Africa: The civil conflict in Sierra Leone has left thousands of people with amputated limbs. This program constructs and fits a lower limb prosthesis called "Jaipur foot” to aid amputees in mobility. The UMC Limb Prosthesis Center produces about 10-12 lower limb prostheses every month that enable amputees to walk again. The program continues to provide necessary services, as more individuals are in need because of the loss of limbs from accidents and limited access to medical care.
Physiotherapy Unit at Kissy Hospital in Freetown, Liberia: The Global Health Unit of Global Ministries provides support for Kissy Hospital’s physiotherapy unit. This unit helps restore movement and function of patients with disability related to stroke.
God’s Country Cooperative Parish (GCCP), Newberry, MI: GCCP is in a community that has a geographic service area covering approximately 2,500 square miles. Within this area are four outpatient clinics and one Critical Access Hospital (CAH), which typically provides basic care for common conditions. Travel is frequently required for medical and dental specialist care, mental health care, and hospital stays for uncommon conditions. For the elderly and economically poor, travel expenses to receive health care may not be affordable and may preclude necessary care. Some elderly patients are dependent on a wheelchair and wheelchair ramps to safely enter or exit their homes. GCCP has two programs currently in place for assisting eligible individuals with access to health services. These are: Wooden wheelchair ramps constructed on site and financial support for expenses related to travel for health services (gas-only cards, prepaid overnight accommodations at a hospitality house or motel, and meal cards).
Emory and Henry College Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Clinics: Through this program, funding is provided to purchase equipment to implement physical and occupational therapy clinics serving uninsured and underinsured residents of Southwest Virginia who have faced obstacles in receiving such services at no cost to the patient.
Global Ministries supports many other programs that impact persons with disabilities such as respite care programs, the provision of nursing/medical services, as well as nutrition and housing support.