The Albanian Health Fund History
Since 1992, the Albanian Health Fund has been dedicated to sharing God's love and improving the medical infrastructure of the country of Albania. Dr. William A. Johnson, Founder of the Albanian Health Fund, learned of the limited medical supplies and infrastructure in Albania, so he took a team of physicians and supplies to share compassion and the love of Christ to those that needed it most. David Krueger shares information on Alba Life TV about the mission of this organization and how people can get involved. The program is in English after a brief introduction in the Albanian language.
From Jerusalem, all the way around Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.
-Paul, Romans 15:19
In October 1991, Dr. William A. Johnson, formerly president of the Christian Medical Dental Society of the United States, joined Robert McFarlane in assembling a team of Christian physicians, dentists, nurses, and logistics personnel which traveled to Albania to assess the health care needs there. A relief plan was implemented, bringing to the country large quantities of hospital supplies, equipment, and desperately-needed medicines.
However, after five decades of intellectual and motivational repression, the greater need was for Albania's health workers to grow professionally and to be encouraged. Multi-specialty teams were organized to work alongside the Albanian doctors, teaching and demonstrating modern techniques. The first of these included 15 physicians, 3 nurses, a pharmacist and a dentist who visited Albania in March 1992. During this visit the team was asked to consider returning and presenting a professional medical conference. This first conference with the Albanian physicians was held in October 1992.
Physicians and other staff continued to return to Albania and many practical expressions of Christianity were given including the donation of medical textbooks, stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs to the graduating class of the medical school. Albanian medical students (and most of the doctors) had never before possessed their own medical textbooks or basic equipment. Relationships formed as the same members returned again and again and the teams were able to share their faith with many in the healthcare field as well as with government leaders who welcomed them to their needy country.
The early Christian church flourished in Illyricum, which was the ancient name for present-day Albania. However, over the centuries, this ancient country has been conquered and dominated in turn by the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Turks through to Stalinist Communism.
In 1967, the dictator Enver Hoxha constitutionally declared God to be dead and sealed the nation off from contact with the outside world, creating the most ruthlessly oppressive of all the former communist regimes of eastern Europe. Albania moved from a land that received the Good News of Christ from the apostle Paul to a nation that has few people who have any idea who Jesus is!
Situated on the eastern Adriatic coast, Albania, with a population of about 3 million, is the poorest country in Europe and considered a third-world nation. The Albanian Government in 1990 approached Robert McFarlane, then head of a Canadian Christian health relief organization, for assistance. Their prompt gift of over $2 million worth of life-saving medical supplies was the first humanitarian donation ever accepted by Albania from a western country. Mr. McFarlane's enthusiasm for the project, and his contacts in Albania, facilitated Dr. Bill Johnson being able to gather the medical skills necessary to make an immediate short-term impact. Democratic elections further opened the door for Christian missionaries in 1992 to freely proclaim the Gospel of Jesus for the first time in five decades.
The Albanian Health Fund is a voluntary Christian organization that seeks to work with Albanian students and healthcare providers to nurture the medical, dental and spiritual needs of the Albanian people by providing faculty, funding and educational resources.