Adventist medical mission in Botswana: Toward an effective and appropriate model

Type Book
Title Adventist medical mission in Botswana: Toward an effective and appropriate model
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Publisher Andrews University
Since holistic health is central to Africans, they will seek it from all possible
health-care systems that include (1) African traditional medicine, (2) Western-oriented
medicine, (3) Christian medical mission, as well as (4) African Independent Churches
(AICs) with emphasis on spiritual healing. However, at times this comes with negative
This research sought to understand why medical pluralism exists in Botswana and
the rest of southern Africa, and why it finds concurrent use by Africans; solutions can
help Christian medical missions develop more effective and holistic ways to serve
Africans. The research can also help Christian medical missions understand how they
can especially engage with the African traditional and spiritual healing systems.
This qualitative research conducted a missiological historical study of the origin
and development of Adventist medical mission in Botswana. By analyzing and
comparing the Adventist methods with those of other Christian medical missions and
traditional medical systems, the research developed guidelines for a suggested alternative
model for Adventist medical mission in Botswana and beyond. In addition, it provides a
documented history of Adventist medical missions in Botswana.
This study examined written and oral sources for research and data collection in
order to discover the history of Christian medical missions, the biblical medical mission
models, and the present health-care models that exist in Botswana. Thus the data
collection process was a combination of documents and texts, as well as interviews with
various Botswana government Ministry of Health (MOH) officials, Christian medical
mission directors, senior nurses, current and retired chaplains and missionaries, village
elders, traditional doctors, and prophet-healers.
This research showed that Africans have a holistic worldview. Any imbalance in
the physical, social, mental, emotional, relational, environmental, or spiritual spheres of
their lives constitutes illness. The biblical medical mission model revealed that God
viewed humanity holistically and desired to restore them in all the aspects of life in the
truism of shalom. By engaging in medical pluralism, Africans are attempting to optimize
their opportunities to restore the imbalance they experience.
However, Western-oriented medicine, including Christian medical missions, was
found lacking in this holistic view ideologically and/or practically. Therefore in the
conclusion, I develop a suggested alternative biblical model for Adventist medical
mission that offers a more holistic approach to health care. In order to serve Africans
more effectively, I recommend that Adventist medical missions consider opening
dialogue with African traditional health-care systems. In addition, this research
contributed to the body of knowledge on the socio-history of Adventist medical mission
in Botswana.

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