From The Associate Rector 6/4
An Update on our International Partnerships
Most of you know better than I that Epiphany has had international partnerships for a good long while. These partnerships slipped through the cracks during the Covid-19 pandemic. During that time, the clergy from All Hallows by the Tower Church in London reached out, seeking to re-engage our linkage. After several Zoom meetings, we are hopeful that we can worship and fellowship together (now that we are all so good at Zoom!). All Hallows has also had a connection to the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, as has Epiphany, and so we are partnering to support a critical need in Aden, Yemen: eye care. We are applying for a Sustainable Development Grant from the Diocese of New York to support the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic. In addition to that grant we will hopefully receive, I wish to ask our community to also consider making a gift towards our support of this Clinic. If you read below, I believe you will see why it is so greatly needed!
As I have familiarized myself with the Ras Morbat Clinic, I realize how much I take my own eyesight for granted: the fact that I can see at all, and that I have easy access to an opthamologist and corrective lenses. This is not the case in so many places around the world, and it is especially not the case in Yemen.
The Ras Morbat Clinic was established within the compound of Christ Church in Aden in 1996 to provide primary health care for mothers and babies. This partnership between the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and the Ministry of Health in Aden has been a good example of compassion and care for people in need without regard to religious or tribal identities. It was decided in 2014 that Ras Morbat Clinic should focus primarily on eye care. The clinic is staffed entirely by Yemenis, and interestingly, all the doctors are women. They provide a large spectrum of care, from general vision exams and prescriptions for lenses, to surgery for cataracts and other corrective procedures. Since the outbreak of civil war in 2015, the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic scope has broadened considerably. People from all over Yemen are now coming to the Clinic for eye care.
During the worst of the fighting in 2015 the Clinic was closed for three months, but then reopened and became one of the very few functioning medical facilities in Aden at the time. A partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières was developed where their field hospital took in injured from all over the area, but referred all head wounds to the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic staff. This partnership continues today. Even now, patients with injuries from the continued fighting and accidents from formerly unexploded munitions are coming to the Clinic for treatment every week. These injuries have been quite challenging for the staff because of the great variety of treatments needed and emotionally stressful because of the significant numbers of children who were injured by mines.
Today there is a relative level of civil order in the city of Aden. Basic infrastructure for water and electricity, roads and public transport are more or less back to the standard before the recent fighting. While the importation/supply of food is a major concern with the disrupted shipping industry, supplies of medicines and surgical implements is sporadic. Water supply is now regular, but not continuous. The Clinic has a generator to supply electricity when power is lost, especially during surgical sessions.
After a visit to the Clinic in April 2021, Archdeacon Bill Schwarz advised All Hallows by the Tower that one thing that is greatly needed is a piece of laboratory equipment that will greatly improve the efficiency and timing of lab work. All Hallows and Epiphany is seeking to raise $7000 so that the Clinic can purchase this piece of equipment. We have applied for a $5000 grant, and both parishes have committed to raising an additional $1000 each. We are already halfway to our goal with a generous gift of $500 towards the effort. Won’t you consider helping us meet or go beyond our goal? If you wish to give online, you may do so here. Checks may be mailed to the church, or left in the offering plate on Sundays.
Eyesight is precious for all, and the loss of eyesight is a great tragedy for anyone at any age. Thank you so much for your prayers and support for this project!