The Luke Commission has come “into its own” in Swaziland, recognized as a leading mobile medical team and openly appreciated by both the governments of the United States and the Kingdom of Swaziland.
Operating since 2005 under the direction of Dr. Harry and Echo (PAC) VanderWal, The Luke Commission (TLC) takes free health care and hope to the most isolated and underserved populations, in partnership with the Swazi people and the Ministry of Health.
Swazis who live in remote areas are the poor, the elderly, the children, and the ill. Often those who are sickest return to their rural homesteads to seek final care from relatives.
This is where TLC intercedes. Mobile hospital outreach sites are set up in outermost parts of this small country, whose population is fighting for its very existence. HIV/AIDS has taken the lives of countless Swazis and left one-fifth of the children as orphans. Delaying orphanhood. That has become one of the main aims of The Luke Commission.
Patients are tested, counseled and linked to treatment for HIV/AIDS. Those suspected of having TB are x-rayed and started on medications.
Voluntary medical male circumcisions are performed in an on-site 11-bed operating room. The Luke Commission circumcises more men and boys on average in one day than all the rest of Swaziland health care facilities combined. Studies show the HIV transmission rate is cut by 60% in circumcised males. More and more evidence is indicating that the lack of male circumcision is one of the primary reasons the HIV prevalence rate is so high.
Nurses and counselors travel back to the rural communities to check newly-circumcised men and boys to make sure they are healing properly, to answer questions, and to provide HIV prevention education.
At the mobile hospital sites, school children are treated for skin and intestinal problems. The young people are fitted with new shoes. Extensive edutainment is offered to all the children.
Handicapped persons are analyzed by TLC medical personnel and given bush wheelchairs, made by Personal Energy Transportation ministry, or traditional-type wheelchairs from Free Wheelchair Mission. The PET carts and FWM wheelchairs are assembled by TLC staff on-site to fit the persons receiving them.
Follow-up treatment for the patients with HIV, chronic disease, complex medical cases, and various cancers is offered. Those with poor eyesight receive vision services and glasses if needed. TLC also offers a ophthalmic surgical program primarily focusing on removal of cataracts.
Packets of medications are distributed by the thousands every day, each prescribed by a doctor with instructions on usage in SiSwati.
Psychosocial and grief counseling is available to all patients.
Faith based activities (prayer and Scripture booklets) are available if the patient desires. The provision of care is not dependent on participation. However, we are respectful of the Swazi belief structure in which the physical and spiritual are intertwined.
The Luke Commission team of nearly 100 treated more than 61,000 patients in 2015. Rural communities, with little or no health care services, willingly embrace TLC’s compassionate approach. The former deputy prime minister of Swaziland and members of the US embassy in Swaziland and the US government have publicly declared the effectiveness and dedication of The Luke Commission and given overwhelming support to the comprehensive, compassionate platform.
In February, 2013, supporters in the US and Canada donated funds to purchase 30 acres of prime land in Swaziland, aptly named the Miracle Campus. TLC’s headquarters are now in Sidvokodvo.