This eight-month-old baby was treated by the medical trailer’s pediatrician. The medical trailer was able to arrange for free care at another childhood care center.
Compassion is a social charity in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan started by the mercy arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), in conjunction with the local Lutheran Church-Concordia (LCC). For 12 years, Compassion has been running a “mobile medical trailer” throughout the country. The trailer, which received funding from LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WRHC) for the past year, saw almost 4,000 people in the last four months of 2011.
The trailer provides free pediatric, dental, gynecological and eye care to the needy populations in villages. The practitioners are trained medical workers from Kyrgyzstan. The staff also provides social work; they will visit people at their homes and distribute humanitarian aid among the poor. Around 40 percent of the Kyrgyz population lives below the poverty line, so the free services at the medical trailer are deeply appreciated within each community.
In October 2011, the trailer was in Tokmok, a village approximately 90 kilometers from Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. More than 1,600 patients were seen. One of the patients was a girl who burned her leg in a gasoline tank explosion over a year before. Despite receiving treatment locally, the burns hadn’t been healing. The medical trailer’s staff determined this girl needed surgery and made the arrangements for her to travel to Bishkek and receive free treatment at a burn center.
Also in October, a short term service team from Bakersfield, Calif. arrived to construct a playground in the village of Tokmok. These volunteers were able to visit the medical trailer and clinics.
A Kyrgyz woman receives a free eye exam and a pair of eyeglasses.
When the trailer moved to the village of Kok-Jar for November and December, it was at the request of the local governmental administration. Located nearer to Bishkek, the medical trailer staff was able to examine and treat all children from a Bishkek orphanage. A local newspaper wrote about the mobile medical trailer and interviewed the director of the Svetly Put orphanage. Even though medical treatment for the orphanage children is free anywhere, the director said, “We are trying to have our children seen by the trailer’s doctors because of their humane attitude to our children.”. [Quote from “Harrah, Aibolit is coming!”, The Vecherny Bishkek, 21 December 2011]
Cold weather struck in December, with more than 15 days recording a temperature at five degrees below zero Fahrenheit. This caused electricity to go out in the rural areas and villages and the medical trailer to use a generator. Despite this challenge, the medical trailer remained open for whomever braved the cold to come.
The medical trailer now owns two ultrasound machines but there is only one technician who can run both. In the beginning quarter of 2012, one of pediatricians will receive training on this machine to increase the amounts of patients that can be evaluated via ultrasound. Additionally, this will be helpful since, in addition to the traditional uses, ultrasound machines can be used to diagnose appendicitis in children. Training a pediatrician will extend the trailer’s ability to provide care for those in need.
Rev. Jon Muhly is the area facilitator for the LCMS in Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Mongolia. He shared, “Our work provides quality care from a highly dedicated staff and is highly appreciated by authorities and population; we have a lot of gratitude letters from village administrations and individuals. For example, the principal of a village wrote:
‘The administration, teachers and students of the Nizhnya Ala-Archa secondary school cordially thank the medical staff of the mobile medical van for the free and highly qualified pediatric, dental and gynecological service provided to the inhabitants of the village. During three months the MMV staff examined and treated 690 pupils of the secondary school from the 1st to the 10th forms, 50 teachers and 70% of village women’.”