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May 23, 2017

It is 6:30 a.m. in the rural village of Andolofotsy, a six-hour drive from Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo. Léa Harilalao opens the door and looks across the road to the thatched shelter where a dozen or so people have already begun to congregate.  “The dispensary is only meant to open at 7,” she laughs softly, “but, as you can see, people come early.” So, often—when she is not hosting visitors—her day also starts early.

Harilalao runs the dispensary at Andolofotsy, one of 36 around the country established by the Development Department (SAF) of the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (known by its Malagasy acronym, FJKM). SAF recruits medical professionals—typically doctors, nurses or midwives—and provides them with premises, a six-month supply of basic medicines and ongoing supervisory support. The nominal fees that the practitioners charge for consultations and medications enable them to support their families, replenish their stock and provide a vital community service in a sustainable manner.

For her paramedical degree, Harilalao did two years of training in general medicine, followed by a year of specialized training in midwifery, so she is equipped to treat most of the common health complaints of the residents of Andolofotsy and surrounding areas.

Today’s clients are fairly typical. Several are there to have illnesses treated, either their own or their children’s. Others have come to have wounds dressed, to seek help with family planning or to get medication for chronic maladies.  One man has cycled six miles over rugged terrain to get medicine for his stricken father.   Later in the day, when Dr. Josoa, the head of the SAF Health Program (who has accompanied us to Andolofotsy) sits down with Harilalao to review her records and advise on any questions or challenges she has encountered, we learn that she has seen more than 4,000 cases in the previous year!

The SAF Health Program is just one of the many ways in which the FJKM is touching the lives of millions of people across Madagascar, sharing the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ in a holistic manner so that all may know life in fullness

 Douglas J. Tilton, Regional Liaison for Southern Africa, Presbyterian World Mission

Today’s Focus:  Madagascar

Let us join in prayer for:

 PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Amy Driscoll, PMA                         
Jeff Dorris, PMA                 

Let us pray:

Creator God, we give thanks for your unfailing care for us and for opportunities to bear witness to your love by caring for one another.  Strengthen and encourage all who serve in healing professions, and inspire us to work together to eliminate threats to good health.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 98; 146
First Reading Deuteronomy 8:11-20
Or alternate First Reading Deuteronomy 18:15-22
Second Reading James 1:16-27
Gospel Reading Luke 11:1-13
Evening Psalms 66; 116

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