Although Benin was not affected by the Ebola virus, which left many countries in western Africa in pain, many people are suffering from the Buruli ulcer, which is one of the most neglected diseases and is in the top three when it comes to endemic diseases in western Africa. Pastor Ock Soo Park, suggested that, through this visit to Benin, it can become a time to start researching and finding a cure for the Buruli ulcer, working together with the Good News Medical Volunteers. Moreover, during the visit of the President’s Special Envoy, there was a briefing on the topic of the Buruli ulcer. As the President and the President’s son heard the news, they were extremely happy.
It was known that, because one of the President’s friends had suffered and died because of the Buruli ulcer, no-one else was as keen as him. The President’s daughter is researching the Buruli ulcer but the more she knew the more she became hopeless. That is when Pastor Ock Soo Park suggested the business of finding the cure for the Buruli ulcer.
This visit to Benin by the State Guest (Pastor Ock Soo Park) was illustrated largely by two major events; the Groundbreaking for the construction of the IYF Centre and the start of a business, finding the cure for the Buruli ulcer. Before the Groundbreaking, there was an interview with the Minister of Health and the Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Hyo Jeong Hwang, did a briefing on the Buruli ulcer not to mention discussing the terms and conditions involved with finding the cure and contracting a MOU.
On the evening of the 12th, the head of the Buruli ulcer sector within the Health Department came to the reception hall to discuss the document of the MOU. The chairman of the IYF, Moon Taek Park, Doctor Hyo Jeong Hwang of the Good News Medical Volunteers and many interpreters gathers to create a final document which was made, then sent for content scrutiny to the Minister of Health.
Because Pastor Ock Soo Park was leaving for Ivory Coast the next day (13th), the Head of Affairs moved quickly in order to conclude the MOU before that time. After the Pastoral Meeting, although it was at a late time, we were able to contract a MOU with the Department of Health.
“At 11pm on the 12th, although it was at such a late time, through the signature of IYF Chairman, Moon Taek Park, the MOU was concluded. Because there is already an NGO contract between the government and IYF Benin, they said that the MOU with the IYF will have the same effect as an extensive contract between countries. As the country begins to help us like this, it is no longer ‘co-operation’ but it is rather a ‘decree’ where all of our specific needs are met. As we came to a MOU with a foreign convention, we are so thankful to God, who has bestowed upon us such graceful blessings.” (Hyo Jeong Hwang/Doctor of Oriental Medicine/Good News Medical Volunteer)
The Good News Medical Volunteers, who have achieved a business related MOU, from the 9th to the 12th, they opened a ‘Free Treatment Service’ in a temporary treatment area in Cotonou City and Calavi for the local people.
In this Medical Volunteering, there were six diagnostic areas; General Medicine, General Surgery, Oriental Medicine, Dentistry, Ophthalmology and Obstetrics and Gynecology. There were thirteen medical staff and volunteers from Korea, two doctors from India, ten local medical staff and thirty volunteers who had participated in this event. This event, which drew great interest from the Benin government, treated, on average, one thousand people per day and four thousand people in total.
In the coming year, the IYF and the Good News Medical Volunteers, due to this MOU, will comply with the recommendations of the WHO and the policies of the Benin government to find the cure for the Buruli ulcer. As they fight for the country’s project against the Buruli ulcer through research and report writing, they will later do the greater work of saving many more lives in Africa.