The sign on the door welcomes impoverished Christians to the Barnabas Hope Clinic. It’s a fitting name for the new Barnabas-funded medical centre in Pakistan, and it was chosen by some of the thousands of poor Christians who have benefited from its service.
Without the Hope Clinic, the health of many Christians would have suffered, and some would have died.
Hope Clinic “has proved to be a huge relief and a great hope for the poor and deserving Christian patients of the region’s parishes”, our church partner told us.
Quality healthcare provided for free
Another church leader described the clinic’s opening as “a moment of joy for all the community”, adding it was the “most celebrated” event of the year.
Poor Christians struggle to access medical treatment in Pakistan. Even a check-up or examination can be beyond their means. Medicines are expensive – and some “medicines” issued by unscrupulous or unqualified staff at private clinics can cause harm.
Barnabas Hope Clinic in Mirpurkhas, Sindh province, employs qualified Christian medical staff who provide quality healthcare to patients for free.
As well as treating the sick, they provide ante- and post-natal care for women and their babies, and run awareness sessions on the prevention of bacterial, communicable and waterborne diseases.
Barnabas covered the set-up costs of the clinic, providing furniture, beds, and medical equipment, including blood pressure monitors, stethoscopes, drip stands and a generator in case of power outages.
The on-site dispensary stocks a wide range of medicines, from antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs to diabetic medication and painkillers, which are issued free to patients in need.
The overwhelming majority of the clinic’s patients are Christian, mainly converts from a Hindu background.
The clinic opened during the Covid pandemic in November 2020 at a time when state-run hospitals were struggling to cope. Private clinics were turning away anyone they suspected of having Covid, or charging huge fees for treatment – fees that few Christians could afford in normal times, let alone in lockdown when they had no work or wages.
It was the Hope Clinic that welcomed poor Christians for “immediate treatment with prayers, care and post-treatment follow ups”, said our church partners.
In its first year the clinic treated 6,890 patients, almost double the 3,600 patients that were predicted. Demand has remained high in its second year, especially after the province of Sindh bore the brunt of the floods that devastated Pakistan in August and September.
The clinic building was partially damaged and, at the time of writing, had shut because patients were struggling to reach it through the flood water. Instead, the medical staff travelled to their patients, many of whom were suffering from illnesses caused by contact with infected water such as diarrhoea and eye infections.
Medical camps open with prayers
The clinic organises awareness sessions and medical camps offering diagnosis and treatment to patients in outlying villages, for which extra Christian medical staff are hired temporarily.
Each session begins with prayers and hymns in local languages. For many non-Christians, who gather around the medical camps and listen to the awareness sessions, it is the first time they have heard the Word of God.
“The services of the clinic have brought many … Christian families closer to God and strengthened their faith”
Some Christian families have offered what little money they can to cover the clinic’s ongoing costs, such as stationery, cleaning and maintenance.
“The services of the clinic have brought many existing and new-born Christian families closer to God and strengthened their faith,” said our church partner.
Church leaders, patients and their families are hugely thankful to Barnabas and our supporters for providing them with the services of the clinic.
“They send their best wishes to Barnabas Aid, whose sincere commitment and support work made this project possible,” said our church partner.
Barnabas is also funding a mobile health clinic that provides free treatment and healthcare advice to impoverished Christian families working in the brick kilns of Punjab, Pakistan. See Barnabas Aid May/June, page 8.
Lives saved by the Hope team
Christian widow Parveen was suffering from a severe chest infection. Her family sought help from three private clinics but all refused to treat her because they said she had Covid. The family tried to convince them that she hadn’t got the virus, but the clinics refused to listen.
Then one of her sons saw a sign for the Barnabas Hope Clinic. Parveen received two weeks’ treatment and medicines that healed her chest infection free of charge. The staff visited Parveen at her home three times and prayed with her.
Her family thank the Lord and Barnabas for the quality health care they received. They told their church friends about Hope Clinic and, as a result, 20 more Christian patients sought treatment.
Shanti was weeping when she took her very sick son Sahil to the Hope Clinic. Sahil, who has special needs, had been suffering from diarrhoea for a week, had a high temperature and was extremely dehydrated.
Shanti told staff she had nothing to pay for Sahil’s treatment. Her husband, a labourer, had no work and they had already sold the few household items they had to provide food for Sahil and his siblings.
The couple were amazed and relieved to be told that treatment was free at Hope Clinic. Sahil remained at the clinic until his condition stabilised, and afterwards the team visited him at home for a week until he fully recovered.
Shanti and her husband thank the medical staff for saving Sahil’s life when, they say, “there was no hope left for him”. They thank Barnabas supporters for making the clinic possible.
Project reference PR1534 (Health clinics in Pakistan)