Be the Saline of the world

NaCl, saline solution, is the standard infusion solution, no matter which country you work in. It is also the name of an internationally used training for Christians in health care, who desire to be ‘salt’ in their environment. 10 Senegalese colleagues traveled to Togo this summer to follow this training, and a number has already started to train others.

The secret of the Saline ‘recipe’ is to mix the spiritual component of care with medical treatment. Well dosed; so not too much and not too little. In a country like Senegal, this concept fits in well, because many patients first seek medical help from the imam or in spiritual rituals. For the doctor or nurse it does require awareness, because it is not part of the mostly Western-oriented training that the staff has had.

Dr. Charles teaches from his own experience as a emergency doctor at the first training: “a patient who knows that he is going to die might sometimes be in more need for a conversation about the end of life or a referral to God, than for medicine.” He explains: “You are over first of all human, then doctor. You are a person who can empathize and sympathize with his fellow man, the patient. That form of compassion requires a lot from you, but I can do it because God gives me the strength.”

The conference in Togo has further fueled the initiative to form a foundation for Christians in healthcare. There is now a pilot team of 14 local colleagues that wants to make this happen, and we are preparing for our national conference at the end of November. We hope that a board will be elected that will also work on official registration with the government. Dr. Charles works as part of this team on his plan to go reach the whole country next year with his “Salty Solution training”.

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Familie Kieviet in Senegal