Medical outreach is a practical way of demonstrating the love of God in the health field.
The two acceptable reasons for an HCF medical outreach:
- Disaster relief situations
- Integration with Integral Community Health programs, especially in the phase of entering into communities.
- Medical Outreaches need to build strong connections with Integral Community Health (ICH) Projects as well as with the government healthcare services in the communities where the outreaches are held. If such connections do not yet exist, the Medical Outreach teams should involve the ICH ministry in deciding what could be done for synergy between the medical outreaches and the integral community health projects. Contact the ICH ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The organizers of medical outreaches should read “When Helping Hurts” by Corbett and Fikkert before they even begin to organize the outreaches.
Medical Outreaches are activities where short-term integral healthcare services are provided to local communities by members of HCF. It can be organized by the national HCF alone or preferably in partnership with other Christian organizations who share their vision and values.
Best Practice Elements of Medical Outreaches:
- Preparation: Teams ready themselves for a trip through orientations, assessments of the current context (ICH projects, government services), proper training (incl. Saline and ICH vision seminars ) and the attainment of adequate and appropriate supplies (preferably in the country where the outreach will take place).
- Partnership: Teams prioritize a relationship with a local entity and agree to cooperate while working toward a defined goal for a significant period of time. The relationships with the local partners should be: Collaborative (no party dominates, all parties share vision and values, working together as equals); Impact focused (producing long-term positive results for the communities); Enabling (giving access to ideas and training resources); Mutually transforming (all parties learning from one another and being transformed as a result); Synergistic (combined effect larger than individual efforts). This would usually require an annual repetition of the medical outreach in the same community until the agreed-upon goals have been achieved.
- Education: Teams foster an environment of learning for local practitioners and community members through training events and lectures for local personnel and community members. The ICH ministry has excellent materials available on many relevant topics, written according to WHO standards.
- Evaluation: Teams recognize the need for reflection and feedback from partners, patients and team members in order to improve the success of their intervention.
- Sustainability: Teams work toward having a lasting impact on the population they interact with while positively influencing health outcomes. The best way to do this is to seek synergy with an Integral Community Health program in the relevant community.