Building Trust in Togo
When working in Africa, or any international setting, a key requisite to making an impact for the community is the need for mutual trust. As you can imagine, intercultural communication and work can only move at the speed of trust and acceptance. This is why one of the goals of our mission at GPiH is to create partnerships, promote collaboration, and overall build trust. One way we do this is to ensure we help build and develop effective health centers with qualified staff. Once we have established this, the quality healthcare provided can help women and children, and therefore develop trust between GPiH, partners, and patients.
Recently, a 32-year-old woman in Togo walked from the village of Amakpafé to the health center, which was more than a 25km walk. She had been having pain in her right thigh that made walking difficult and other daily activities, such as gathering water and cooking, almost impossible. After receiving treatment at the health center, she was able to resume her daily activities due to the vast improvement of her condition and the recovery from the pain.
To some of us in the US, this may not seem too life-changing–when we have pain we visit the doctor and usually can be back to normal within a week. However, for this woman it was miraculous. She would not have received care if she had not had access to the health center, and because she made the trip she was once again able to resume her daily activities.
Even more, she returned to her village as a witness for the health center. Because of the treatment she received, she can now share with her village that she trusts the health center and our partners in Togo. She can bear witness to the village to also receive help at the health center. This is what building trust looks like for us at GPiH, treating patients and making a difference in their everyday lives.
After the village heard her testimony, a man from that village also traveled to the health center for a wound on his left thumb. He had been suffering from pain in his left upper limb for over six weeks, could no longer sleep at night because of the pain and infection, and ultimately would have lost his thumb and finger. However, because he traveled to the health center and was treated by the staff, they were able to resolve his problem and pray for him. He regained function in his thumb and was once again able to sleep and resume his work in the fields. Without treatment, the man would not only have lost his thumb and finger but also his ability to support his family. He was very happy with his treatment and is now a living testament to the health center.
This power of word-of-mouth ignites the flame of trust. Not only do GPiH and our partners work to provide life-saving care for mothers and children, but we strive to treat any person in need who travels to one of the clinics in order to foster a healthier community and provide treatment for those in need.
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