“Surgeon” is enough of a job title for most people, but for Dr. Robert Cropsey, it’s just one of many. Since 1985, Dr. Cropsey has served at times as Hospital Director, Chief of Staff, and Chief of Surgery in Togo, West Africa. He also played an integral role in the planning, building, and opening a second hospital in northern Togo in 2015, the Hospital of Hope that ministers to thousands of patients from the region.
Now, Dr. Cropsey can add “Humanitarian of the Year” to his titles.
This month the American College of Surgeons/Pfizer Surgical Humanitarian Award honored Dr. Cropsey as one of three ACS Fellows who “have dedicated much of their careers to ensuring that underserved populations have access to surgical care and have done so without expecting commensurate compensation.”
He emphasized, however, that this award is not reflective of him and his efforts alone. Rather, it’s a blessing from the Lord and a shared honor with a much larger team.
“I have so few credentials compared to the usual person receiving this award. Hopefully the Lord will use this opportunity to call other godly surgeons and healthcare professionals to become involved in medical missions, as well as encourage those on the front lines to persevere and press on for Him,” he says.
Dr. Cropsey, who knew from the start that God was calling him into the medical field to serve in missions, moved to Africa shortly after completing his residency, with his wife Shirley and their four children in 1983. In recent years, he’s spent his time and energy focused on recruiting healthcare professionals with a passion for reaching people groups where no or minimal health care exists and giving them an opportunity to have a healthy life and live eternally in the family of God.
Togo is a prime example of such a location. Sandwiched between Ghana and Benin, Togo is one of the most densely populated regions in all of Africa, with more than seven million inhabitants. However, there is not nearly enough medical care to go around, especially for those living in the more remote areas of the country. Average life expectancy in Togo is 59 years of age for men, 61 for women.
ABWE’s hospitals in Togo are helping to address the prevalent physical needs in the area—and are used as a platform to share the gospel.
The Hospital of Hope opened in 2015 and has been busy meeting the needs of the northern population and surrounding countries. Further south, the Hôpital Baptiste Biblique, has been providing essential medical care since 1985.
The 50-bed, full-service hospital serves more than 3,000 patients every year. As the only major medical center in the area, Hôpital Baptiste Biblique also serves many patients from neighboring Ghana and Benin and trains a host of medical students and surgical residents
While the medical care and education provided at Hôpital Baptiste Biblique are vital, the ultimate purpose of the hospital is to use medicine to reach people with the good news of the gospel. Upwards of 50 churches have been started in Togo as a result of the medical ministries there.
A new initiative—a $10 million expansion project—will help increase Hôpital Baptiste Biblique’s ability to continue to provide quality care and serve as a vibrant-evangelistic outreach to the community. In the near future, plans are being made to begin training Christian African doctors to become surgeons. They will be equipped to treat both body and soul for their own people in partnership with the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons. From this experience we anticpate training family practice physicans using a similar model.
Recently, College Park Church created the Robert Cropsey Endowment Fund. Additionally, ABWE is helping raise support for the ABWE hospitals in Togo that Dr. Cropsey helped establish, starting with Hôpital Baptiste Biblique’s long-term expansion project.
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