Cinci Cares Presents: Doctors on a Mission | Joseph G. Waklatsi, RN
CinciCares Home Care and Infusion Services, Owner/CEO
LEAD Magazine: What do you do? Where do you go?
Joseph G. Waklatsi: I go to Ghana, but I am open to new regions if the need is there. Eye (care) need is a big need, orthopedics too. Cataracts, even in children, are prevalent from drinking dirty water. They drink out of the same mud holes as the livestock. Flies lay eggs in the water. Eggs hatch behind the eyes and cause a cataract-like glaze to form. It worsens over time. Clean drinking water is a passion of mine; 90 percent of people we see are sick because of lack of clean drinking water.
I would like to develop a partnership with someone to come up with resources to do bore holes. Drilling is needed to get to the clean water source. The cost is $5,000-$10,000 per hole. Most villages have several hundred people. One hole per village is all that is needed. Teaching good hygiene is ideal, but they can’t wash their hands with dirty water. Recently, per a referral from someone at my church, I have made a connection with a woman who is retired from Procter & Gamble. She may be a great resource for talking about a way to provide clean water.
LEAD Magazine: How do you get what you need?
Joseph G. Waklatsi: We partner with a warehouse in Ghana. There is no regulation, no FDA. Surgical team needs are ordered here and picked up there. The dollar goes a lot further there. That is how the Lord has blessed us. I recently witnessed a young boy’s healing with $1.50 worth of antibiotics.
LEAD Magazine: What inspired you to do this type of work?
Joseph G. Waklatsi: In 2001 I went to visit my grandparents in Ghana, where they grew up. They are huggy, touchy people. When I arrived, a great aunt was lying on a mat on the floor. Being a nurse, I knelt down to talk with her, examine her. She felt very feverish. She had fractured her hip a week earlier. They could not move her. Out of respect for her, I did not ask to see the hip. The next day, I sent someone to take her to hospital. They would not treat her due to her age. She laid there and died a painful death. At that time I was working at The Christ Hospital in the dialysis unit as an RN. I was relaying that story to a friend of mine, Dr. Jerry Kirby. He asked me if I had ever considered going there to do mission work. I had not. He asked me why. Right then the bug was planted.
I had been visiting there once or twice a year to see family, to help them out. The next trip I made was to begin the work. That first year of “mission” work, we ran out of medicine. We saw more (people) than we ever anticipated but came back feeling like a million bucks. I went back to talk with my friend Dr. Kirby and told him about the trip. I have been trying to go twice a year since then. We have been going on these trips for 14 years now. I plan to do three this year.
During the time I was working at The Christ Hospital, I also had a transportation business here in town. I had a little bit of extra change. In 1997 I sold that business, registered the name Arcadia Home Care and opened shop in February of 1998. In 2011 I changed the name to CinciCares Home Care and Infusion Services. I wanted a name with a local flare. This is my sixth year in this location. We currently have 27 field staff, which includes nurses, aides, pharmacists and medical deliveries. We also have an office staff of nine. We are a full-service home care company. The work provides the funds to do the mission work.
LEAD Magazine: What have you learned by doing this work?
Joseph G. Waklatsi: I have learned that the need out there is big. I have learned humility. Mission work puts life into perspective. I do not hesitate to reach out. The right kind of network is more important than money. God knows that as long as I have on this earth, I will continue the work. I’m just on the bus for the ride.
LEAD Magazine: What message would you like to share with our readers about this work?
Joseph G. Waklatsi: That there is a need. Each and every one of us has the ability to reach out. Don’t think you are not qualified or don’t have the resources. If you have the slightest inkling to do this type of work, pray about it and think about how you can help.
LEAD Magazine: Any final thoughts?
Joseph G. Waklatsi: The focus is not about me, it is about the process. At the end of the day I want them to feel the presence of the Lord. That is all.