Ragged and gaunt, scarcely able to stand, 19-year-old Ajay* staggered through the doors of Chinchpada Christian Hospital in India just a few weeks ago.
As staff helped him to a bed he told them his story.
With no friend or family member to help and no money for a bus ticket, his five-hour journey to hospital had been painful and lonely.
His father and new step-mother often left him to fend for himself. But that got harder and harder as he started to become ill.
After a local doctor diagnosed diabetes, family members would occasionally help him buy insulin. But then even that support dried up.
Finally, a kind neighbour suggested he try Chinchpada Christian Hospital, saying, ‘They helped me get well for very little money. Poor people are treated well there. They will take care of you.’
Carrying nothing but a note with the hospital’s address, Ajay set off.
Severely dehydrated on arrival, he had a barely recordable blood pressure and soaring blood sugar levels, and was quickly taken into intensive care.
Senior doctor Ashita Singh said, ‘We marvelled at how he had managed that journey on his own in such a state.’ Thankfully, Ajay responded well to treatment. Staff bathed him, cut his long nails and washed his hair.
Then they gave him a set of new clothes – the first he could ever remember receiving.
They also told him about the faith that motivates all they do. He replied that his schoolteachers had also told him about Jesus, and that, throughout his terrible journey, he’d known that followers of Christ at the hospital would care for him.
Dr Singh writes ‘we are unsure of what the future holds for Ajay..all odds for a long and carefree life here on earth are against him. But we have a more than sneaking feeling that resurrection power is at work in him…and his heavenly Father has all eternity to make it up to him.’
We all know how tough it is to be very ill. But in countries like India, Nepal, South Africa and South Sudan, where money is tight and pressure high, there is no safety net of healthcare for all.
Health poverty like this can leave vulnerable people in the most desperate situation.
But MAI is helping highly skilled, selfless and compassionate people like Dr Singh to help many others like Ajay.