The Only Surgeon For Millions of People Wins First Annual Gerson L’Chaim Prize

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Dr. Jason Fader of Burundi, Sole Full-Time Surgeon Outside Capital City, Awarded $500,000

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Dr. Jason Fader, a son of medical missionaries and now on a team of American physicians in Burundi--the world’s hungriest nation--today was awarded $500,000 in the first-ever Gerson L’Chaim Prize for Outstanding Christian Medical Missionary Service.

Watch Dr. Jason Fader at work

“Because of the L’Chaim Prize, hundreds of people will walk, thousands will receive care, and tens of thousands will be helped by the doctors we train,” Dr. Fader said.

The L’Chaim Prize, the largest ever in clinical care, is awarded by the African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), founded by New York entrepreneur Mark Gerson and his friend Dr. Jon Fielder, a medical missionary serving in Kenya.

“Missionary doctors are this era’s untold humanitarian story,” said Gerson, who underwrites the prize with his wife, Rabbi Erica Gerson. "Forsaking every comfort and convenience to bring skilled compassion to the continent’s poor, Dr. Fader and his team are links in a string of unsung heroes across Africa.”

With the L’Chaim prize, Fader and his colleagues—serving with the agency SERGE—will:
■    add critically needed hospital beds at rural Kibuye Hope Hospital
■    create Burundi’s first postgraduate medical training
■    expand lower-limb fracture care in a nation that travels by foot

“It’s hard to overstate the value,” Fader said. “In one of the world’s poorest countries, a prize of this magnitude, for one hospital, is far reaching.”

Burundi--called the world’s hungriest nation by the World Bank--has but 13 surgeons for 10 million people. For their part, Fader and his on-the-ground team are training doctors, performing surgical procedures, and upgrading and expanding medical facilities. Every team member raises individual financial support and arrives having studied both French and Kirundi. Since 2013, the team has served at the Kibuye Hope Hospital, the teaching hospital for Hope Africa University Medical School.

“To move forward, to provide higher volume and better quality care, and to train more national healthcare workers, this hospital must expand,” Fader said. He plans to serve in Burundi “for many years to come.”

Medical care is Africa’s most endangered species. Since missions and agencies peaked in the last century, the docs still there, and their African colleagues, receive shrinking support amid rising and complex medical challenges—from AIDS to surgical problems to cancer. Fielder and Gerson, with friends and supporters, formed AMHF to bolster Africa’s white-lab-coat heroes and their institutions.

The 2016 Gerson L'Chaim Prize drew 26 applications from long-term medical missionaries, Catholic and Protestant, in 12 countries. Candidate projects span women’s health centers, African doctor training, cancer diagnosis and treatment, pediatric surgery training and care, heart surgery, mobile HIV care, malaria prevention, and ER centers.

For interviews, contact: Michael Conrad michael(at)lovell-fairchild(dot)com 214-616-0320:
●     Learn more at http://www.amhf.us
●     Read the Gerson’s essay on Medium
●     Watch the Prize and Finalist videos
●     Read official prize policies
●     Follow #LChaimPrize via AMHF’s profile on Twitter or Facebook
●     Donate

Visit Lovell-Fairchild.com for:
●     Curtain Raiser Press Release
●     AMHF Media Tip Sheet
●     AMHF Q&A
●     Suggested Interview Questions

About African Mission Healthcare Foundation
A registered U.S. 501(c)3 charity, AMHF enhances access to health services for the tens of millions of Africans who fail to receive quality, life-saving care. It advances financial, logistical, personnel and management support to African mission health facilities, which, through thousands of centers, provide roughly one-third of medical services on the continent. AMHF directly supports care for 70,000 patients annually and finances formal training of 100 African healthcare professionals—a credit to its partners’ efficiency. In Kenya, a clubfoot may be corrected for $100. In Malawi, a child’s malaria treatment costs less than $10. In eight countries—including Malawi, Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania—AMHF has built clinics, procured x-ray machines, educated surgeons and doctors, and sponsored life-changing operations, particularly pediatric rehabilitative treatments. AMHF oversees Kenya’s largest HIV and tuberculosis clinical mentorship program.

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Michael Conrad

Catherine Binkley