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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: December 19, 2016.

Because one doctor chose to forsake every comfort and convenience to bring his skills and compassion to one of the most impoverished regions of central Africa-hundreds of disabled men, women, and children will be given the priceless gift to stand up and walk again.

Dr. Jason Fader, who is a son of medical missionaries, is the sole and full-time surgeon outside of the capital city of Burundi. Located in the southern hemisphere, just south of the Equator, Burundi is west of Tanzania, and to the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In recognition of his efforts, Dr. Fader has been awarded the first-ever Gerson L’Chaim Prize of $500,000 for Outstanding Christian Medical Missionary Service.

For a residency or to specialize, Burundi’s 30 med grads each year must study abroad, where they often settle. Kibuye is opening means for more grads to study and practice in their home country. The L’Chaim Prize will help Kibuye start an internship for hands-on training of new docs.

“Because of the L’Chaim Prize, hundreds of people will walk, thousands will receive care, and tens of thousands will be helped by the doctors we train,” Dr. Fader said.

The L’Chaim Prize, the largest ever in clinical care, is awarded by the African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), founded by New York entrepreneur Mark Gerson and his friend Dr. Jon Fielder, a medical missionary serving in Kenya.

Dr. Jason Fader, missionary physician, leads med students on morning rounds at Kibuye Hope Hospital in rural Burundi. The Gerson L’Chaim Prize money will help Dr. Fader train new doctors in a nation of 10 million people and only 13 surgeons.

“Missionary doctors are this era’s untold humanitarian story,” said Gerson, who underwrites the prize with his wife, Rabbi Erica Gerson. “Forsaking every comfort and convenience to bring skilled compassion to the continent’s poor, Dr. Fader and his team are links in a string of unsung heroes across Africa.”

In Burundi’s Kibuye Hope Hospital, missionary physician Dr. Jason Fader checks on temporary “grafting” of an arm’s skin and blood supply to the patient’s burned face. In rural huts severe burns are common, but physicians to treat them can be a hundred miles away. The L’Chaim Prize will expand surgical care in Burundi.

With the L’Chaim prize, Fader and his colleagues, who serve with the agency SERGE, will do the following:  add critically needed hospital beds at rural Kibuye Hope Hospital,  create Burundi’s first postgraduate medical training,  and expand lower-limb fracture care in a nation that travels by foot.

“It’s hard to overstate the value,” Fader said.  “In one of the world’s poorest countries, a prize of this magnitude, for one hospital, is far reaching.”

Burundi has 13 surgeons for 10 million people. Dr. Fader and his on-the-ground team are training doctors, performing surgical procedures, and upgrading and expanding medical facilities. Every team member raises individual financial support and arrives having studied both French and Kirundi. Since 2013, the team has served at the Kibuye Hope Hospital, the teaching hospital for Hope Africa University Medical School.

From the capital city’s Hope Africa University, a Christian school, young doctors–including this Muslim student from Tanzania–have come to train under Kibuye Hope’s Dr. Jason Fader.

“To move forward, to provide higher volume and better quality care, and to train more national healthcare workers, this hospital must expand,” Fader said. He plans to serve in Burundi “for many years to come.”

At the end of his long day, Dr. Jason Fader made time to give an exclusive interview with Sonoma Christian Home. Editor At Large Dr. Diane Howard reports.

SCH: Do you feel this prize has been a source of personal encouragement?

JF: Yes, because I am an isolated surgeon here.

SCH: What kind of surgery work do you specialize in?

JF: I do about every kind of surgery work.

SCH:  Tell us about your training program in Burundi.

JF: We have a training program for about 40 nurses and doctors. This grant will enable us to develop an internship program leading to a post-graduate surgery and family residence program.

SCH: How can the body of Christ be praying for you?

JF: Pray for guidance, wisdom, provision, and a hospital.

SCH: How can the Christian community support you and your work?

JF: To support or work, please visit African Mission Healthcare Foundation

A young Burundian heals in a hospital ward that may house up to three patients per bed. In the boy’s entire country, outside the capital city the only treatment for leg fractures is at Kibuye Hope Hospital. The L’Chaim Prize will help doctors keeps more Burundians on their feet.

Medical care in Africa is severely endangered.  Because missions and agencies peaked in the last century, the doctors still there, and their African colleagues, receive shrinking support amid rising and complex medical challenges that range from AIDS to surgical problems to cancer. Fielder and Gerson, with friends and supporters, formed AMHF to bolster Africa’s white-lab-coat heroes and their institutions.

The 2016 Gerson L’Chaim Prize drew 26 applications from long-term medical missionaries, Catholic and Protestant, in 12 countries. Candidate projects span women’s health centers, African doctor training, cancer diagnosis and treatment, pediatric surgery training and care, heart surgery, mobile HIV care, malaria prevention, and ER centers.



Our previous interview from October gives even more insight into this amazing mission of hope.

To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard

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