April 7 is World Health Day, and it is time for all of us to honor and pray for our courageous healthcare workers. Would you join in praying for them? Pray for God’s protection, peace, and strength as they care for us in our times of greatest need.
Ambulance sirens pierced vacant cobblestone streets and an eerie calm settled over the small town of Cremona, Italy. But inside the local hospital, the atmosphere was anything but calm as hundreds of coronavirus patients filled every spare room and lined the hallways.
Early in 2020, as the virus spread around the globe, Northern Italy became an epicenter of COVID-19 infections. Local hospital infrastructure was incapacitated by the volume of patients, leaving medical staff with a lack of space and resources. At Cremona Hospital, 500 of the 600 patient beds had been converted to care for the influx of COVID-19 patients and the doctors and nurses could no longer meet the critical needs on their own.
On March 17, Samaritan’s Purse airlifted a 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital to Cremona to help support the local hospital. The mobile hospital was outfitted with a specialized respiratory care unit and a 10-bed intensive care unit (ICU) for critical patients.
Francesco was the first person admitted to our ICU, where doctors and nurses provided round-the-clock care as Francesco fought for his life. Nurse Shannon Wood prayed that Francesco and the other patients at the Emergency Field Hospital would feel the love of Jesus while receiving care within the tents.
“When we are covered in personal protective equipment and all they can see is my eyes, I’m able to love these patients and stroke their hair and hold their hand,” Shannon said. Their compassion and care opened doors to share the Gospel. “They are curious about the Jesus that we say that we love.”
Though Francesco never saw Shannon’s face, or the faces of the other doctors and nurses who cared for him, he told them. “I feel love through your eyes.” Thanks be to God, Francesco was removed from a ventilator after several days in intensive care and transitioned to step-down medical care.
He prayed to accept Jesus as his lord and savior, and returned home to his family with a testimony of all that God has done.
In addition to the physical healing he experienced, Francesco made the decision to trust in Christ for his spiritual healing. He prayed to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and returned home with a testimony of all that God has done. Over the course of two months, we treated 281 COVID-19 patients in Cremona.
Providing hope around the world
We also deployed five Canadian Disaster Assistance Relief Team members to Nassau, Bahamas—where the number of coronavirus patients had overwhelmed the local healthcare system—and sent personal protective equipment to First Nations communities in northern Manitoba and Ontario.
Samaritan’s Purse also distributed emergency relief supplies to families in Beirut, Lebanon in the aftermath of the August 2020 explosion. The blast killed more than 200 people, injured thousands, and left more than 300,000 families displaced. Many families were without shelter, food, and electricity.Your prayers and support were critical last year as Samaritan’s Purse provided emergency medical care for COVID-19 patients, surge capacity for overwhelmed hospitals, and coronavirus infection prevention and control training in more than 30 countries. 6,933 people were provided with medical services and 23 Canadian medical professionals served with Samaritan’s Purse on the mission field.
Though COVID-19 and national lockdowns have caused great challenges for the staff, and severe hardship across the northern Philippines, the Abundant Grace of God Maternity Centre clinic has remained open—deemed an essential service—to care for those in great need. In 2020, the clinic cared for 620 moms and their babies and trained ten new midwives to serve in isolated villages with little or no medical care. This essential medical care is as critical as ever for moms and babies in the Philippines, and other countries, like Niger and Egypt, where Samaritan’s Purse maternal medical projects are operating.
Please pray for families who have lost so much, and pray for our teams as they are helping in Jesus’ Name. Your prayers and gifts will continue to put medical teams and vital supplies on the ground where they are needed most around the world.