Medical program will prepare much-needed physicians to serve across the region.
The first phase of the East-Central Africa Division (ECD) medical school in Rwanda is expected to be ready by March 2019, regional Adventist leaders reported. “God has worked miracles in this project. By faith, funds have been coming from different sources,” a spokesperson said.
Leaders shared that most church members across the region have donated US$2 each. Church employees have donated 10 percent of one month’s salary. The world church has contributed through the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering program (in third quarter 2016), and friends of the Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA), the Rwanda Union Conference church region, ECD, and other well-wishers have also donated.
The proposed Adventist School of Medicine of East-Central Africa (ASOMECA) at AUCA in Kigali, Rwanda, has been the dream of the ECD administration for many years. At their year-end meeting in 2013, the ECD Executive Committee took an action to start a medical school. “According to Jesus Christ’s ministry, the mission of the church must be wholistically implemented through preaching, teaching, and healing,” the spokesperson explained.
Once completed, the medical school will address some of Africa’s health challenges. The ratio of doctors to patients across the ECD territory is very low. In Rwanda, for instance, in 2015, there was one physician per 15,625 inhabitants.
From the beginning, the ECD committee responsible for ASOMECA has committed to preparing medical professionals with appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes to provide and promote Christian wholistic medical care, and to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
Leaders also expect that the new medical program will support the 10 Seventh-day Adventist mission hospitals and 166 clinics across the ECD territory. “The new school of medicine will train qualified missionary doctors,” the spokesperson said. “This will, in return, assist these mission hospitals and clinics to continue offering high-quality services to the community at large.”
Church leaders expect that the new program will nurture around 4 million church members across the ECD, as well as strengthen important community-based projects of the world church. “[The program] will support comprehensive health ministry initiatives and high-quality Adventist education programs through universities across the region,” the spokesperson said.
The medical school will also solve other issues. “Young students, whether they are church members or not, have no opportunity to learn medicine in their own countries because there are few medical schools. And the few Adventists that join public medical schools are not free to rest on the seventh-day Sabbath,” leaders reported.
“The new school of medicine will give them a chance to openly practice their faith. On the other hand, nonmembers who join will be exposed to Bible-based Adventist doctrine, thus helping them to get to know Jesus, the Life Giver.”