The last mile In the global fight against AIDS, the international community has brought access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) to many health facilities around the world, but not all. Those lifesaving tablets that travel 10,000 miles sometimes don’t make it far enough.

“Because a jar on a dusty shelf in the clinic must not be the goal of the journey. We cannot congratulate ourselves and call that jar “access”. The jar on the shelf is not “access” – it is merely inventory.

“The entire business is a bitter failure without the last mile. It is the last mile that has proven to be the most difficult. It is a mile beyond the government’s reach. It is the mile into the hurting world and broken heart of the 9-year-old orphan living in the slum.

“The jar of pills traveled ten thousand miles but it needed to travel ten thousand – and one.”

– Scott Todd, Senior Ministry Advisor at Compassion

With our AIDS Initiative, Compassion is bringing the global fight “The Last Mile,” beyond the clinic, down dusty roads, through garbage-infested slums, up hills and into valleys to our church partners and beyond to the homes of our families.

True access to care means going beyond the clinic to the families who are waiting for the hope that only this medicine can bring.

Without ART, lives would be lost and families wrecked.

Our work fills the void, closes the gap and goes the Last Mile … not only in ensuring true access to the ART, but in the holistic approach to HIV and AIDS.

Our health workers know our families well, and visit those who are HIV-positive often, finding out what they need and how they are doing.

Our workers deliver care and support through the church, with the hope of Jesus Christ, to each family.

When a child needs to go to the hospital for care or testing for blood counts, we are there, realizing that without the support to get to the health center or hospital, all of the technology in the world is useless.

The machines used to count white blood cells, the x-ray machines to look for suspicious masses and infections, the medicine to treat opportunistic infections, and the medicine to help keep those with AIDS alive … all would be rendered useless without our church partner’s health workers who work as advocates, educators, comforters and confidants to our families.

When a child needs additional nutritional support to stay strong, our workers are there. When a distraught parent needs someone to talk to about a diagnosis of HIV, our workers are there.

When a mud hut is crumbling because a family affected by HIV and AIDS has lost its livelihood, our church partners are there to help the family regain their dignity.

One mile is not far, but for those living in poverty, with little contact with the outside world, that last mile is the difference between life and death.

“The Last Mile takes counseling, home visits, facilitating transport, payment for clinical services, lab tests and medicines including antiretroviral drugs. It takes a willingness to go the distance. It takes perseverance.

“The Last Mile takes people filled with compassion, whose faith and hope come from a deeper spring than the world has ever known. People of uncommon strength to walk the slums. People strong enough to carry joy in the dark. People with their hands busy at the work of healing today’s hurts even as their eyes remain fixed on eternity.

“Where do we find such people? They are already gathered. They are crowded into little rooms in the slums, in the city centers, and even in the forests. They gather to sing praise to Jesus Christ, to pray for each other and for their hurting world. They are His people, His Church.

“The Last Mile takes followers of Jesus Christ doing ministry the way Jesus did it – holistically. It takes His Church.”

– Scott Todd

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6 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Nov 24, 2009
    at 9:59 am


    Thank you for painting a vivid picture of hope amidst despair – and showing what a difference a mile makes!

  2. Amy
    Nov 24, 2009
    at 2:29 pm

    Thanks TV! appreciate your time to read it and your encouragement… may you be blessed! Amy

  3. Amy Wallace
    Nov 24, 2009
    at 8:08 pm

    I’ve donated to the Aids Initative fund a couple times, and I’m so thankful that Compassion looks out for those who are often ignored.

  4. Jimmy ONEN
    Nov 25, 2009
    at 11:47 am

    I am from Uganda in Gulu i am so thankfull that Compasssion look aftere people who are ignored, i willl love to JOing the initiative. I pland to ride a bike through our Uganda councelling and courry out evangelism

  5. Eric K.G NKRUMAH
    Nov 26, 2009
    at 7:22 pm

    I am a CDW in Ghana I’m so thankful to God for bringing Compassion to Ghana to help bring hope to the poor child in Ghana. We will create the awareness about HIV/AIDS on the world AIDS day. Thank you.

  6. Amy Metzger
    Nov 27, 2009
    at 3:07 pm

    Thank you, Amy, Jimmy and Eric! appreciate your comments and encouragment. Great to hear from those in Africa who are surrounded by the challenges of this pandemic. Appreciate your passion, Jimmy and Eric. May the Lord continue to bless you and use you to transform your communities! Keep praying for the success of our AIDS response.

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