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Tech for Mission: how cutting-edge tech is transforming lives

BMS World Mission is harnessing the powers of science and faith to transform mission

Technology is transforming mission. Evangelists are using social media to reach those who want to know Jesus in places where it’s too dangerous to ask about faith. Scientific advances and faithful BMS supporters are improving antenatal care for South Sudanese women in Uganda. What if science and faith were not arch-enemies but actually long-lost friends?

The faithful prayers and generous giving of BMS supporters is bringing science and faith together across the world to transform lives. Bidi Bidi refugee camp, Uganda, now a settlement the size of Birmingham with over a quarter of a million people, is one of those places.

Aya Joska arrived in Bidi Bidi refugee camp fighting for a future for her and her unborn baby.

South Sudanese refugees have fled a terrifying and brutal civil war, with hundreds of thousands arriving at Bidi Bidi camp. Aya Joska is one of the conflict survivors living there. She was pregnant when she ran from men armed with guns and machetes, escaping with the clothes on her back and her unborn baby.

Arriving at a refugee camp may have meant safety for some, but it wasn’t total security for Aya. With 99 per cent of maternal deaths occurring in low-income areas, the odds were overwhelmingly against her. “As a pregnant woman, you’re literally hundreds of times more likely to die from conditions such as pre-eclampsia, infections and haemorrhages in low-income countries,” says Dr Andrew Shennan, Professor of Obstetrics at King’s College London. “Often, it’s not because of a lack of sophisticated treatment, but because, in places like the UK, vital signs are regularly checked, and symptoms are discovered early on.”

Dr Andrew Shennan, Professor of Obstetrics at King’s College London.

That’s where technology stepped in. Dr Shennan spent the best part of a decade developing a highly accurate, easy-to-use blood pressure monitor called the Cradle Device. Not only does it measure blood pressure, but it also identifies symptoms. It tells the user if action needs to be taken using a simple traffic light system. If a woman’s vital signs trigger a red light, then health work volunteers can get her to hospital as soon as possible. “By detecting these conditions earlier, than you can prevent the mother from dying,” says Dr Shennan. “Her other children are 50 per cent more likely to die if she dies.” So when you protect the mother, you’re also protecting her children.

The Cradle Device is relatively cheap and charges with a simple micro-USB charger which most people use to charge their phones and, cleverly, it also can be plugged into a solar or car battery. It’s a device perfectly suited to refugee situations. And BMS delivered 700 of these Cradle Devices to go into UNHCR camps in Uganda. Thanks to your prayers and giving, 7,000 women are  now having their blood pressure checked regularly by health work volunteers. It’s a life-saving measure for mothers and their unborn babies.

With the power of technology, Aya was given the antenatal care she needed to give birth to her beautiful baby, Blessing.

By donating to BMS' South Sudan's Conflict Survivors appeal, you can make a real difference to women like Aya. But your giving won’t just help South Sudan’s conflict survivors. You’ll be helping to share the fullness of life in Christ among the powerless and poor, with those who never had a chance to hear Jesus’ name, all over the world.

This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission

BMS World Mission, 27/01/2020
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