December 17, 2018
By Jill (VanBeek) Stoltzfus, AJS Executive Director
This month, while in Honduras, I visited the main public hospital that serves Honduras’ poor. Honestly, I am not a fan of hospitals in the best of times, but this one is especially hard to visit. The many suffering people lining the hallways are vivid reminders that corruption isn’t an abstract concept—it literally destroys lives.
During my visit, I entered a medicine storage room and heard from doctors that they often lacked the basic medicines that their patients need most. I thought about the 80% of Hondurans who depend on the government for medicines, and about the $94 million dollars of medication that were stolen.
I met two surgeons who told me they have trouble operating because their equipment is often outdated, broken, or stolen. I thought of the 10,000 patients currently on waiting lists for surgeries because of a shortage of available doctors in the operating room.
Working for justice exposes you to the raw wounds of our world. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the magnitude of the problems and to fall into the trap of thinking that corruption has no cure. But, as I walked through those hospital halls, I saw many things that have improved, and I was struck by the fact that slowly but surely justice is becoming a reality.
I firmly believe that, because I’ve already seen how God is using my AJS colleagues to bring justice and significant improvements to the Honduran health system.
When blood pressure medication was discovered to contain mostly chalk, AJS helped to create a new way of purchasing quality medication that is now overseen by the United Nations. I know that this is a huge step forward in rooting out corruption and ensuring that quality medication reaches patients.
When corrupt officials stole medicines, AJS’s investigations held them accountable and several of them are now awaiting trial. I know this sets a precedent for holding those in power accountable.
And, I am most excited about the recent news that the President of Honduras asked AJS to form part of a group leading the transformation of the national health system. This intervention alone has enormous potential to affect millions of lives!
While my visit to the hospital was hard, it also made clear to me how important it is that God is working through AJS in Honduras and bringing justice that will bring health to the poor who so desperately need it.
We have a long way to go, but with your partnership, we are committed to the long- term journey of justice healing the Honduran health system.
In this season of hope, will you give a gift to contribute to our healing justice work in Honduras? With your support, we will continue to advocate for healing within Honduran systems in defense of the most vulnerable.
Jill (VanBeek) Stoltzfus