Argyle residents Adam and Rachel Jamison can tell you heart-wrenching story after story about the 13 million beautiful people they work with every day in the forgotten West African country of Guinea. Anxiety, fear, terror, and fatalism paralyze the area, largely because access to quality healthcare has been practically non-existent for so long. Unsurprisingly, the biggest victims are the nearly 7 million children who aren’t receiving the pediatric care they desperately need — thus destined to lead short and unimportant lives.
They admit that’s a horrible way to start a story — with a negative. But the narrative that comes next is far more hopeful.
For the past three years, the Jamisons, alongside a growing team of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare experts from West Africa and the United States, have been spearheading through their non-profit, Hope Ignited, the creation of the country’s first and only Sacre Coeur Pediatric Center of Excellence. The vision for the center, slated to open in 2023, is for it to be a one-stop shop for general and specialty pediatric care (cardiology, neurology, physical therapy, urgent care, etc.). There will be a pharmacy, labs, and even a dental clinic. More importantly, it will double as a training facility for local medical personnel.
“Most Guineans believe that if you’re sick, you have to leave the country to find good care. If you want to become a doctor, you have to go elsewhere for good training,” said Rachel, a pediatric cardiologist, and the center’s Medical Director. “Our job is to change that story — to provide care now and empower other medical professionals with the tools and resources to help their own communities.”
She added, “Right now, we are seeing patients in our home and going into their homes. We can’t wait for our center to be finished so that we can provide more holistic care.”
To understand Hope Ignited’s story and the goal of building a pediatric center, you have to go back to 2002, when Adam’s late father Charles Jamison, and a Guinean man named Ishmael, had the idea to start a non-profit organization to stimulate the Guinea economy and empower people to make a change. They had several initiatives over the last two decades, all of them successful. But by the time Adam got involved in 2002 and eventually met and married Rachel, it was clear what their true mission needed to be.
At Hope Ignited, they partner with local churches, universities, and global corporations to bring life-changing skills to men and women who want to utilize their gifts and align their passions to meet the needs of their community.
“The lack of pediatric care available in a country with about seven million kids is astonishing,” Adam said. “There are only 15 pediatricians and not a single pediatric center or hospital for over 13 million people. Our hope is to take care of kids and provide the next generation of physicians with the ability to do it independently.”
While Adam and Rachel still travel back and forth to their home in Argyle, they predominately live in Guinea with their boys, Quillin (7) and Ethan (11 months). And the good news is that they aren’t alone in their fight. Another American family with medical experience has since joined them. They’ve also added a pediatric pharmacist and nurse.
“We can’t care for 6.5 million kids by ourselves,” Rachel said. “We are bringing people in from all over the world who have the necessary knowledge and a desire to train our Guinean colleagues — to empower those who are here. We want them to believe they can do this on their own.”
Adam agreed, adding that it’s time to reshape the imagination of the people of Guinea toward God’s coming Kingdom through gospel-centered healthcare, agricultural projects, and capacity-building programs.
“We’ve known for a long time that this is where we want to be. We want to change the story and embody a new narrative of hope that tells and shows every citizen of Guinea that they are seen by God and are indispensable to the work of His Kingdom.”
To learn more about Hope Ignited and its pediatric center, visit hopeignited.org