Recently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated wheelchairs, audiology equipment, hearing aids, a maternity ward, and other medical equipment to three different countries in Africa.
These donations, made in collaboration with local agencies and organizations, are expected to improve the health, mobility, quality of life and self-sufficiency of patients.
Wheelchair donation and training in Rwanda
The Church worked with the Rwanda Biomedical Center and the National Council for People with Disabilities to deliver wheelchairs and hold a training event on October 20 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Over four days, local physical therapists were trained on how to assess people with disabilities to fit wheelchairs and other more suitable assistive devices, the Church’s Africa Newsroom reported.
Hospital technicians were also trained in wheelchair assembly and repair of damaged wheelchairs.
Emmanuel Ndayisaba, executive secretary of the National Council for People with Disabilities, said: “Latter-day Saints have given us the best quality wheelchairs and are committed to providing enough for our people in need. They have shown us a generous heart.”
Several people who received new wheelchairs or walking aids expressed their appreciation, saying that the assistance will help them get around and perform daily tasks. They said their current devices were old and damaged, and they couldn’t afford to replace them themselves.
Audiology equipment and hearing aids in South Africa
A collaboration between the Church and the Western Cape Health Department will mean that hearing impaired people living in rural South Africa will soon have access to new audiology equipment and hearing aids.
The comprehensive donation includes 136 different types of hearing aids that can be programmed based on the type or degree of a patient’s hearing loss, Africa Newsroom reported.
Previously, audiologists serving rural communities had diagnostic audiology equipment that was too old to service and in dire need of replacement. They now have new portable repair toolboxes, fully stocked with hearing aid repair tools and supplies.
Specialists will also be able to use new equipment for newborn hearing screening, even for the first time in some rural districts. This allows health officials to detect hearing loss in babies as early as possible, in order to manage language, educational and social development.
Lack of equipment availability has forced patients to travel to larger cities to get tested, but transportation issues and long wait times have been a burden. Health officials talked about waiting a long time for resources for underserved communities.
Megan Davis-Ferguson, from the health department, thanked the Church for being so willing to listen to the delivery challenges of audiologists serving the hearing impaired community.
“What is so encouraging about this grant is that it is specifically tailored to the needs of each district. … We will see the impact long into the future,” she said.
New maternity ward and equipment in Uganda
The Church built and equipped a maternity ward at the Bugembe Health Center in Jinja, Uganda, Africa Newsroom reported.
The health center serves about 60,000 people. The project was started to help women access quality healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth, which will significantly contribute to reducing the mortality rate.
Speaking on behalf of the Church at the dedication ceremony on September 28, Jinja Uganda Stake president Moses N. Mbiro said, “God is using the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a vessel for bless His children in Bugembe.”
He emphasized the importance of charity among all the sons and daughters of God on earth.
In addition to the new maternity ward, the donation also included beds, mattresses, carts, incubators, monitors, pulse oximeters, Dopplers, and other medical equipment.