Medical Work Begun, 1957
This is the first in a series of posts featuring articles, stories, videos and photos from the BMC archives. This article entitled “GHANA – Medical Work Begun” was published in the December 1957 issue of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board’s Commission magazine vol.20
Under a burning tropical sun, a few curious Africans gathered in Nalerigu, Ghana on September 16, for the groundbreaking services for the Baptist hospital. The text for the service was “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20); and the Africans were told that the medical work now beginning is an expression of Christ’s compassion and love.
Two weeks later Dr. George M. Faile, Jr., Southern Baptist missionary, and his African helper, Samuel Olawumi, began outpatient clinics with the aid of a mobile dispensary. The Leprosy Service is also turning over to Dr. Faile’s care some 2,000 leprosy patients now attending clinics near Nalerigu. But, he says, “we cannot begin development of a central leprosy settlement unless another doctor comes. And it seems to be a dream only to expect a missionary nurse.” He adds that an administrator-chaplain could multiply the evangelistic effectiveness of the medical work.
There are about 83,000 people in the vicinity of Nalerigu, and about 8,000 leprosy cases within a 40- or 50- mile radius. Dr. Faile is the third doctor in an area of more than half a million people.
The missionaries have made contact with a small group of Yoruba Baptists living in this predominantly Mamprusi area. This group wants to begin having services, and Mr. Olawumi, who is now living in Nalerigu, will be their leader. “We are eager to have these few Baptists join us in a great missionary effort by conducting their services in the language of the Mamprusi people,” says Dr. Faile.
The Nayiri, paramount chief of the Mamprusi, was sick with “Asian flu” at the time of the groundbreaking, but he did go to the site in the missionaries’ car. His son, Natumah Baani, clerk of the Nalerigu local council, turned a spade of dirt in his stead.