Burundi surgeon wins $500,000 prize for service in 2016’s hungriest country.
A missionary surgeon to one of the world’s poorest countries has won the first-ever $500,000 Gerson L’Chaim prize for outstanding Christian medical service.
Jason Fader, whose parents were also medical missionaries, is 1 of 13 surgeons serving the 10 million people in the sub-Saharan African country. Three-quarters of the population is malnourished, making Burundi the world’s hungriest country in 2016.
One reason for the trouble: Last year, President Pierre Nkurunzziza decided to run for a third term, setting off months of unrest. His re-election was boycotted by opponents, and sparked violence and the displacement of more than 100,000 who feared the resurgence of a civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups that devastated Burundi from 1993 to 2006.
Fader, who grew up in Kenya, has been in Burundi since 2013. In addition to caring for about 25,000 patients a year with his team, he trains local doctors.
“Jason is doing surgeries that no one else has done before in Burundi,” fellow doctor Rachel McLaughlin said. “The students haven’t had a chance to see it. He’s teaching them surgical skills. He’s teaching them surgical management. And the students love it.”
The prize money will be used to create the country’s first postgraduate medical training, add 48 new beds to the 172 at Kibuye Hope Hospital, and improve lower-limb fracture care—a crucial need in a country that travels by foot.
“Literally hundreds of people will walk because of this prize,” Fader said. “Thousands of people will be cared for. And tens of thousands will be helped by the doctors we train here.”
Fader is part of a recent resurgence of medical missionaries. Attendance …