An Indian doctor sacrifices the prestigious cures of the rich for the preventive health education of the poor, and in so doing, confronts the profession with the need to change its traditional methods.

Jamkhed, india, a town of 6,000 people, isn’t the likeliest place for a revolution to start. But if medical doctor Raj Arole has his way, Christian missionary medicine around the world will never be the same because of what he and his coworkers have accomplished there.

A frequent consultant to the Population Council in New York and to the U.S. Agency for International Develoment in Washington, Dr. Arole found time to preach his new line of missionary health care to 400 participants at the Ninth International Convention on Missionary Medicine, sponsored by MAP International of Wheaton, Illinois.

Dr. Arole, who is in line to be ordained as a minister by the Church of North India, makes a strong pitch for changing the direction of missionary medicine for two reasons: the traditional hospital-centered curative approach responds to the needs of only the handful of people who, one way or another, can reach the hospital; primary health care, on the other hand, aims to keep people at grassroots level from getting seriously ill in the first place.

What this will mean for church-sponsored and independent medical missions is earth-shaking. Say “missionary medicine” and you think of U.S. doctors and nurses confronted with the overwhelming task of coping with an impossible caseload. Talk to mission agency executives and hospital administrators, and you hear about inflation and impossible costs. Talk to nationals, and you hear that missionary medical people can only treat those who can afford both transportation to the hospital and the cost ...

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