GULU. The president of Corti Foundation the organisation at the centre of raising funds to support St Mary’s Hospital Lacor, has decried the miserly nature of rich people, saying the biggest donor contributors to the Gulu-based facility are the poor who sacrifice “bits of coins” for the good of public healthcare.
Dominique Corti, president Corti Foundation based in Italy and Canada, told stakeholders and management of the hospital that the dwindling funds require that a sustainability strategy is effected to maintain the quality of healthcare offered at the facility.
“The donors we have are the poor. Most of the rich people are greedy. Being poor does not mean you cannot give. We’ll appreciate whatever support you can give to the hospital to save life. To us, the patient comes first and quality care matters in saving life,” she said.
“But this is only possible when we have the funds,” Corti added.
Corti made the remarks on Saturday during the Annual General Meeting at Lacor Assembly Hall. The meeting sought to, among others, discuss sustainability strategies in a wake of dwindling funds from donors to support the oldest mission hospital that treats between 400 and 500 patients in Out-Patient Department, and more 500 inpatients, daily.
The hospital was set up with to provide affordable, sustainable quality healthcare to the needy and to train professionals of high quality.
The mission was, however, sustained by donor funding since the hospital does not have income generating activities to provide funds for subsidised medical costs to the patients.
Heavy budget burden
In Financial Year 2016/2017, St Mary’s Hopistal, Lacor, operated on a budget of Sh19.4 billion, with additional expenditure of Sh7.46 billion on medical, and Sh7.45 billion on personnel.
The hospital also had to spend Sh1.72 billion on generic stuff, Sh600 million on transport, Sh720 million on property and Sh440 million on administration.
According to Jennifer Kane, one of the researchers at St Mary’s Hospital, Lacor, there is need to revive work done with special attention on the elderly, women and children who are most vulnerable in the healthcare system.
“Due to limited resources, the hospital must choose which groups and activities to undertake with core services to be preserved in in-patient. Where there is need, the hospital will help with a subsidy of 70 percent,” Kane said.
Among those to receive the 70 percent subsidy on medical costs are the paralysed, obstetric fistula patients, support to chronic disease sufferers like cancer, sickle cells and Hepatitis B patients.
According to Matthew Odongo, the chairman board of Lacor hospital, the number of patients is overwhelming the medical personnel, who sometimes forego lunch to attend to them.
The hospital employs some 600 staff.
Hospital calls for help
Dr Cyprian Opira, the executive director, encouraged well-wishers to contribute toward sustaining quality healthcare at Lacor.
Odongo said if public hospitals at health centre III level were properly equipped to play their roles, Lacor would receive fewer patients.
“There is need for the technocrats at health centre IIIs to lobby government for more support to reduce the burden on private sector and faith-based health facilities,” Odongo said.
S. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, commonly referred to as Lacor Hospital, is based in Gulu District, Northern Uganda. It was founded by Comboni Missionaries and is administered and managed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu.
Founded in 1959 as a 30-bed hospital, by July 2005, it had 483 beds. It also has a nursing school and other health worker training programmes. The hospital maintains remote level III health centres in Amuru, Opit and Pabbo, with an additional 24 beds.