On a cold, Saturday morning in early spring, the Compassion project run by Muang Khong church, Thailand, is abuzz with excitement. Today the doctor is arriving.
The day before was filled with preparations for the first of two medical check-ups the Compassion project will have this year. Late into the night, ladies from the church were chopping, boiling and frying an assortment of foods to feed the visiting doctors as well as the children and their families.
As the sun rises in the east, the remote village of Muang Khong remains cold as it lies in the shadow of a large mountain. Itâ€™ll be eight in the morning before the sunâ€™s rays finally pierce the fog and warm the villagers. But both the doctors and the village chefs are up before sunrise, warming themselves by open fires, and preparing to get to work.
After a short breakfast, the visiting doctors walk up the hill to the village school which today is acting as a temporary clinic. Because there is no hospital close to the village, itâ€™s not often anyone sees a doctor.
So whatâ€™s involved in a medical check-up?
All the children at the project undergo a physical examination to make sure they are growing healthy and strong. Due to the villageâ€™s distance from any kind of hospital, kids often have no medicine for simple ailments like colds or fevers. Scratches can get infected, and growth problems can go undetected if not diagnosedÂ by a doctor.
Haircuts and lice treatment
The medical teams search the childrenâ€™s hair for lice. Lice can carry deadly diseases like typhus. They also cause discomfort for the children and the itching can lead toÂ skin rashes. With every medical check, doctors take note of the amount of children affected and teach local project staff how to treat lice in childrenâ€™s hair. Sometimes prevention can be as simple as getting a really short haircut!
Prevention is key! As part of the check-up the children are taught how to brush their teeth, wash their hands and take a shower. Theyâ€™re also taught how to stay safe and what to do in emergency situations.
All the families who have come to the medical check-up are given the opportunity to meet with the church leaders and pray. Â
As the day ends, children and parents return home happily, many running their hands through much shorter hair! For those who need additional help or follow up, they have the Compassion staff ready and willing to see them through treatment of any kind, even if they need to be driven all the way to the hospital.
The childrenâ€™s trip to the doctor may look at little different from your visit to your local GP surgery, but one thing is the same the world over: the bright smile of a happy, healthy child who is loved and cared for. Compassion partners with local churches like Khlon Muang so that those smiles can be seen. Even here in a rural, mountain village miles away from hospitals and medicine.Â
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