More than 2,300 people in the city of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, received medical services through a joint initiative between the Adventist Hospital, the Western Venezuela Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Smiles for Jesus Foundation (FUNDASONJE), an Adventist secular organization in the country.
The recent three-day event offered medical consultations to 2,346 patients in need of assistance across the region. The initiative provided 104 minor surgeries and treatments in 15 medical specialties including ophthalmology, outpatient care, dentistry, etc.
“We are very grateful to have partnered again with the Smiles for Jesus Foundation to help so many of our members in vulnerable and needy circumstances,” said Orlando Ramírez, President of the Union of Western Venezuela and President of the Venezuela Adventist Hospital Board of Trustees. Since 2017, the church has partnered with the Adventist Secular Foundation to help needy communities across western Venezuela while promoting the healthy lifestyle the church promotes, Ramírez said.
Luis Betancourt, social services coordinator for FUNDASONJE who oversees the project, said that in the past dozens of interventions have been carried out for the benefit of the general population, but this was an opportunity to reach members of the church in the area. “We investigated the needs of church members who required surgery before scheduling services,” he said.
“In Venezuela, it is difficult to offer medical services in public hospitals,” Ramirez explained. “It takes time. The waiting lists are long.” The medical consultations and surgeries met a real need, he added.
The initiative saw the hospital’s surgeon, 30 medical professionals from across the country and dozens of volunteers participate in the three-day initiative dubbed “Living Our Hope” in Barquisimeto, where the Adventist Hospital is located. from Venezuela.
“This is the first intervention of such magnitude that the hospital has embarked on in its strategy to fulfill its mission of becoming the center of health for all members,” said Eglee Alaste, a specialist surgeon. in family medicine and medical director of the Adventist Hospital of Venezuela. “We are committed to reflecting who God is, serving and providing the best for his children and his brethren.”
The hospital provided follow-up with free post-operative services after the initiative ended.
The joint venture included the collaboration of the Central-Western Conference of Venezuela, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Venezuela, and the Inter-American Division of the Adventist Church.
It was important to emphasize to church members that the hospital is also theirs, Ramirez said. “The situation in Venezuela over time had created a kind of distancing and a great difficulty in being able to serve people who had no money, to reach the poorest, and that had turned into something very complex and difficult to reach from the hospital.” With 50% of the resources provided for the initiative coming from FUNDASONJE, “we were able to partner as a church and accomplish such a great initiative in Barquisimeto,” he said.