For more than 20 years Reynier Ter Haar dedicates himself and his career to serving the poor and disadvantaged. In 1996 he moved with his family in one remote corner of Africa to become a medical missionary. That’s what the doctor feels when trying to save lives and bring hope in very difficult conditions.
To get to work, Reynier Ter Haar spends only a few minutes.
“Sometimes at night when I was summoned to some emergency, there will need to be even faster. Sometimes I’m on my bike,” — says the doctor-missionary Reynier Ter Haar.
Dr. Ter Haar began working as medical Director of the hospital, “Nkhoma” in Malawi in 1996.
“I worked in the West. Worked in Canada and South Africa and then in England, but I think that my activities here need most,” he says.
As a physician, Ter Haar hired Dr. Kathryn Hodge to solve a problem.
“I was approached out of the hospital and proposed to consider the possibility of opening offices for newborns, because I realized that it is essential”, says Dr. Katherine Hodge.
The doctors are doing everything they can with what little they have. Babies sleep for five or even more in one bed. The youngest sleep in makeshift incubators.
“We came up with such boxes, the bottom of which Shine and warm the lamp. It seems that since we’ve never had a single death from hypothermia,” explains Catherine Hodge.
Yes, even in summer in Africa underweight children dying of hypothermia. Obviously, Dr. Hodge could not be better doing the work here already for two years, but she had to experience serious emotional turmoil.
“I am much grieved. In the States I never saw a child dies — never. Over time, I learned and improved the work in this Department. Already there is reason for optimism. Today in the chamber 33 of the child, but a few years ago, they would have no chance — most of them,” she continues.
To understand the scale of the health crisis here on the African continent, we need only look at the ratio of doctor/patient. For example, in the United States, one doctor has about four hundred patients. Here in Malawi — just think! 50 thousands of patients per doctor.
In this hospital, great attention is paid to training of local specialists. The Daniel Chimutu in the past was the gardener of Dr. Ter Haar.
“My dream is to become an orthopedic surgeon,” says Daniel Chimutu.
Currently, “Nhome” also trained 300 nurses. Olive Samani graduated from nursing school not so long ago. In General, in “Nhome” it has more than 30 years.
“When you take a child who is very sick, and then after two or three days you see how the child himself comes to you and smiles, then rejoice, knowing that you did something good,” says the nurse olive Sambani.
As you can imagine, life in this rural community can be challenging — both at work and at home.
“Perhaps, most of the problems we have with electricity. In addition, water has to be pumped out of the river about five miles from “Ngoma,” says Reynier Ter Haar.
Therefore, one of the many goals of the hospital is to the people they trained have remained in rural areas, although it is often not easy.
“We hope that their Christian beliefs that brought them here, forced them to stay. We try to provide them with decent housing,” says the chief doctor of the hospital Reynier Ter Haar.
Soon it is planned to build houses with small apartments, to offer staff housing at competitive prices.
“To care for the sick need enthusiasm. Whoever he is, and also compassion for these poor people, will be able to stay and continue to work. So I think that this place is ideal for Malawian,” says olive Sambani.
And it is ideal for doctors such as Ter Haar, not because of the salary, prestige or privilege, but out of a sense of relevance.
“The nearest city from here is 50 kilometers. In an emergency it may be a question of life and death” — says the doctor-missionary Reynier Ter Haar.
These people are every day on the “front line” and save lives.