Posted on October 5, 2019 Pray for Drs. Anita and Rick Gutierrez training local missionaries to combat illness in South Africa.
Kristy Engel, Anita & Rick Gutierrez

Family doctors Rick and Anita train and equip local missionaries, or “health builders,” to combat lifestyle-related diseases like HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure, heart and artery disease, diabetes and malaria in homes, schools, places of worship and marketplaces. Health builders also receive training in gardening and poultry skills to help them promote good nutrition and provide income, and they lead Bible study groups in their communities. Pray with Rick and Anita for a disciple-making movement in South Africa. 

They write – After developing the Health Builder model and training health workers over a decade and a half, we are still struck by how common HIV infection is in our communities. 

On a recent morning in Zululand, looking at the results of 15 consecutive women who we screened for HIV, eight of them were HIV-positive. We noticed that even in women over age 60 the HIV rate seems to be about 25%. Only half of all the people who have HIV are being treated in South Africa.  

Health building helps to encourage people to seek treatment and gives them much hope for a normal life living with HIV. People here enjoy watching our HIV animations and appreciate receiving counselling for HIV and convenient testing in the informal spaces where they live. Of note, it costs about two dollars for the first HIV test which we use and five dollars to confirm a positive result. These people receive further testing and long-term treatment via the public health system of South Africa at no cost to themselves. 

Empowering laypeople in poor communities to become Health Builders is an extraordinarily effective health intervention. We feel the love of Jesus Christ flowing through us and our Health Builders as we engage the community in this way.