Which requires more skill: to cure a disease, or prevent it?
Which is indicative of more compassion?
It’s not a simple either-or question. Compassion dictates that we treat injured souls when we encounter them; wisdom would instruct us to avoid the injuries when possible.
Historically, missionary care has focused much more on the curative side of the equation than on the preventive. That needs to change. We cannot eliminate the diseases, but we can minimize their threat. Better to build fences at the top of cliffs than hospitals at the bottom (though both will be needed).
I think Ben Franklin nailed it when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”