Dr. Rick Sacra, a long-term medical missionary and family physician serving in Liberia, West Africa, has won the African Mission Healthcare (AMH) 2018 Gerson L’Chaim Prize.
Dr. Rick Sacra, Ebola virus survivor, will use the $500,000 award to train health workers and improve hospital infrastructure at ELWA Hospital in Liberia.
In 2014, at the height of the Ebola epidemic, Dr. Rick Sacra, serving with the mission SIM, voluntarily returned from furlough in Massachusetts to assist his colleagues at ELWA Hospital (Eternal Love Winning Africa) in the capital city of Monrovia, Liberia.
As others cared for victims in the Ebola Treatment Unit, Dr. Sacra ran the rest of the hospital. While delivering a baby to a sick mother, Dr. Sacra contracted Ebola. Evacuated to a special facility in Nebraska, thankfully he survived and decided to return to Liberia to help the country rebuild.
This is not the Sacras first return to Liberia after challenging circumstances. Dr. Sacra has served in Liberia for over 20 years. When civil war drove many Liberian refugees into neighboring Ivory Coast, Dr. Sacra, his wife Debbie, and their children moved to a remote region to serve the refugees. The Sacras then moved back to Liberia when the war ended.
Explaining his motivation for returning to Liberia, Dr. Sacra told Time magazine, “God led me to become a medical missionary many years ago. The passion that motivated me then is still the one that motivates me now: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ To see people’s lives enriched through better health and the experience of God’s love is still what drives me.”
With the Prize, Dr. Sacra and the hospital will:
** Train Liberian family medicine residents. Liberia has only one doctor for every 15,000 people, and most of those lack advanced training.
** Install solar power capacity. The nation’s grid power is not reliable, causing the hospital to use precious resources on fuel for the back-up generator.
** Establish intensive care units with trained staff. At present, there is no reliable place in Liberia to send expectant mothers with very high blood pressure, trauma patients, sick newborns or other patients requiring more advanced care.
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SOURCE: Assist News, Michael Ireland