Medical Training as Part of Training for Missionaries

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The following questions were sent to me by my mother who is an educator and registered nurse. Addressing this issue could be a huge plus for missionaries around the world. I would like your thoughts (particularly that of any minister or missionary who reads this blog):

Background:  Missionaries and their families go to foreign fields all over the world.  I assume that part of their preparation is to learn about the language and ethnic customs of the peoples they will be living among.  I have talked to several missionaries and have been told that they didn’t have medical training prior to going into the mission field. 

As a nurse educator, I would like to have a response to the following three questions:

Question #1:  Are the missionaries and their families being instructed on the following health related issues such as the following:

  • What diseases are indigenous to the country; how to prevent “catching” those diseases? 
  • If one would contract a indigenous disease, how to treat it. 
  • Basic first aid and emergency childbirth. 
  • Basic nutrition:  how to select foods and prepare a healthy menu to address leading killers such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
  • Proper hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of infection.  
  • Knowledge of what diseases are spread through blood and body fluids and how to prevent the spread of theses diseases to self and family.

Question #2:  Is there a need for educating our missionaries in the above areas

Question #3:  Do missionaries think this education is important or would have been helpful?

Thanks in advance for any response.

Carole S. Dabbs,  RN

In addition to the above three questions I would like to add: Is this information already out there? Is it readily available to missionary teams? What other health related issues are being missed that could keep our missionaries healthy?

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