Small Ministry Delivers Big Impact Using Medical Test Kits

Post a Comment » Written on December 16th, 2009     
Filed under: News
SHARON, MA (December 16, 2009) – Biochemist Alynne MacLean had no way of knowing how many people around the world would be impacted by her decision to leave a lucrative job in 2001 to start Science with a Mission (SMI), a ministry that develops low-cost medical diagnostic kits.

MacLean, a member of Covenant Congregational Church in Easton, Massachusetts, recently delivered the 100,000th unit. SMI reached the milestone when the Christianville Clinic, located south of Port au Prince, Haiti, ordered 1,000 kits.

KitsThe kits test for diseases including malaria, HIV, typhoid and hepatitis. Because no electricity is needed for the diagnostics, they are effective in remote areas of the world and have been used in 49 countries.

“I have an Excel spreadsheet where I keep track of orders and inventory,” MacLean says. “When I first saw that we were so close to 100,000, I double checked my formulas to be certain my numbers were accurate. It felt unbelievable. It almost feels sacrilegious to say that – since God has done so many amazing things through this ministry.”

The Paul Carlson Partnership is using the HIV tests to screen blood donors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those diagnostics also can be used to screen individuals for their own care, as well as to identify pregnant women with the virus. The latter is important, MacLean says, because a new drug has been effective in preventing the virus from being transmitted to the unborn child.

MacLean started the ministry with a meager budget in her basement. It has since moved to a small shed. A diverse group of volunteers, including members of her church and Community Covenant Church in East Bridgewater, label and package the kits by hand.

“(I’m) grateful to be a small part of what God is doing around the world in medical missions,” MacLean says.

SMI prices the diagnostics at $1 to cover manufacturing costs, but makes no money on the tests. Keeping the prices low makes them affordable to many organizations, but the ministry still has shipped some tests to the Developing World for free.

To cover all its costs, SMI depends on donations.

To read previous articles on the ministry, click here and here.

Editor’s note: In the accompanying photo, MacLean (at right) delivers an order containing the 100, 000th kit to Melinda Hester, who works with the Chistianville Clinic in Port au Prince.

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