After setting up coronavirus field hospitals earlier this year in Italy and New York City, Samaritan's Purse recently announced its deployment of a new field hospital to the Bahamas to assist that country's health care system, which is being overwhelmed by the intensifying pandemic in the capital city of Nassau.
A team of doctors and nurses trained in infectious diseases was flown to the Bahamas from North Carolina late last week with supplies and a 28-bed field hospital to partner with the Bahamian Ministry of Health and Princess Margaret Hospital in the capital.
New wave hits the island
Many nations across the globe are being struck with a second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks – and shortly after this renewed crisis filled Nassau's medical facilities to the capacity, the prime minister of the Bahamas requested Samaritan's Purse set up its field hospital there.
The ministry's president, evangelist Franklin Graham, sees the escalating pandemic as an opportunity not only to physically help those with the disease, but to spread the gospel and love of Jesus Christ.
"Hospital staff are overwhelmed and exhausted as the number of coronavirus patients in the Bahamas reaches an all-time high," Graham points out on the ministry's website. "Our teams respond to the hard places in Jesus' Name; this is the right place to go to make a difference in the lives of hurting families."
This comes not long after a recommendation was issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warning travelers that they should avoid all nonessential international travel to the Bahamas as the number of COVID cases and deaths continue to rise amidst the fairly recent outbreak.
"The nation – made up of hundreds of small islands – has had 5,100 cases of COVID-19, with about 480 new cases in the last week," Religion News Service reports, noting that the number of deaths passed 100 over a week ago.
Back to blessing the Bahamas
This is the second time in as many years that the Christian humanitarian relief organization has been to the Atlantic island nation – having provided aid to victims of the devastating and deadly Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
That year, Samaritan's Purse opened a 40-bed field hospital on Grand Bahama to serve hurricane victims, but that was not the end of its humanitarian outreach, which has continued to bless Bahamans ever since the natural disaster.
The aid group has been able to provide ongoing support after it opened its country office there, as it deploys aid workers to rebuild homes damaged by the hurricane and meets the constant need for clean water.
Hospitals set up by Samaritan's Purse consist of a series of portable tents that are equipped similar to conventional hospitals, as they are not only wired for electricity, but they have heating and water, as well.
Helping around the world
Besides having the basic necessities in its mobile medical facilities, the North Carolina-based nonprofit group equips them with everything patients need – from the U.S. to Latin America to the Middle East.
"In New York City, the field hospital included a fully staffed pharmacy and lab and intensive care unit beds with ventilators," RNS recounts. "The field hospital treated 191 patients – mostly in the month of April when the city experienced its worst surge of cases. It was dismantled in early May."
To the northwest, Samaritans Purse had a 30-bed field hospital airlifted to King Salmon, Alaska, earlier this summer, but it ended up not being deployed.
It was in 2016 that Samaritan's Purse deployed its first field hospital to serve the victims of the deadly earthquake that took place in Ecuador.
Later that year and into the next, Graham's faith-based organization set up an emergency field hospital outside of Mosul, Iraq, serving victims who were injured in the battle to overtake the war-torn Middle Eastern city.