NEWS FROM LACOR HOSPITAL – SPRING 2017
2017 got off to a good start, and we hope it will continue to be a good year for all. Like you, we welcome the return of spring with great enthusiasm.
In northern Uganda, where the Lacor Hospital is located, dry and rainy seasons alternate year round in an everlasting spring and summer (the average year round temperature is 26°C!). In Canada, we have our epidemics of influenza and viral gastroenteritis in the fall and winter; in Uganda, the rainy season brings outbreaks of malaria or cholera. The worst and most striking difference between these seasonal illnesses is that malaria is preventable and, in particular, curable but, due to poverty, the lack of prevention and quick access to treatment, malaria is the main cause of death and disability, especially for those most at risk: children and pregnant women.
Lacor Hospital works very hard to treat patients with malaria. The hospital also makes a great effort to raise community awareness by distributing information on malaria prevention measures.
At the Foundation, we do our utmost to support Lacor Hospital and its employees, whose work we greatly admire. The Become Part of the Story campaign allows us to join forces with others who also believe in and support Lacor. The 10 chapters of the campaign reflect Lacor’s real needs in simple terms.
In this edition of the newsletter, we are pleased to present some chapters of the campaign, accompanied by stories about patients and employees at the hospital. On the last page, we share a summary of Lacor Hospital’s activities in 2016.
The Teasdale-Corti Foundation Team
MOTHERS & CHILDREN CHAPTER
The funds donated to this chapter subsidize the treatment fees for all pregnancies, antenatal and neonatal care, infants and children.
Salomon first came to Lacor in 2014, when he was six years old and looking for a cure for the cancer taking over his body. Soon after admission, doctors discovered that Salomon also had HIV. Salomon’s tumor, a sarcoma, had spread to other organs, including his chest wall and cervical lymph nodes. He suffered from chronic diarrhea, and was so sick that doctors were unsure whether he would survive. But he did. Upon arriving at Lacor, doctors gave him chemotherapy. In time, all of his tumor localizations disappeared, and he gradually recovered health. Salomon recovered well from the cancer and has since returned to school. He comes back to Lacor on a regular basis to receive his HIV drugs and to check if there is any recurrence of the cancer. So far, there has been none; Salomon is doing well.
Through research, Lacor obtains accurate and locally generated information on how to improve health care.
Dr. Emmanuel Ochola is a medical doctor at Lacor Hospital. He studied at Makerere Medical School from 2000 to 2005 and in 2006 he started working at Lacor as an intern. He then specialized in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatics, and is now Head of Lacor’s Department of HIV, Research and Documentation, and Chair of the Hospital’s Quality Improvement Committee. He has three children, seven and five years old, and a young baby.
Dr. Emmanuel is the project leader for Project MoCHeLaSS, which focuses on empowering communities to identify high-risk cases and to enhance referrals in northern Uganda and South Sudan. This work was carried out with a grant from the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa initiative, co-funded by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre.
We would like to thank our major donors for participating in these chapters: the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation for the Mothers & Children Chapter, and the International Development Research Center for the Research Chapter.
DRUGS & MEDICAL SUPPLIES CHAPTER
Medicine and medical supplies are indispensable to the care and improvement of patients’ health.
Jacob is the interim chief pharmacist at Lacor Hospital and the proud father of a 4-year-old girl. He fell in love with the profession after being inspired by a pharmacist serving in the community.
At Lacor, pharmacists take care of medicines and medical supplies. The medicines are mainly supplied through distributors within Uganda, donations from Canada, and the Ugandan government.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2012 there were 550 pharmacists for Uganda’s 37 million citizens (vs. over 27,000 for Canada’s 35 million)!
The Equipment Chapter allows Lacor to provide reliable diagnoses and treatment using updated and well-maintained machines and devices.
Dr. Davidson is a specialist in Anaesthesiology and head of the Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Unit at Lacor Hospital. He is married with three children. Dr. Davidson says that although Lacor’s equipment may not be ultra-modern, it is generally still useful. Different equipment is always needed in hospitals, and although Lacor is grateful for and welcomes donated equipment, its integration is often challenging. Adequate training of staff, lack of user manuals, availability and supply of spare parts and consumables, and adequate facilities for running and maintenance are much more challenging with donated equipment than with locally purchased equipment, which has the significant advantage of sales services and spare parts.
According to the WHO, more than half of medical equipment donated to Africa no longer functions within 6 months of donation. It is important to consult the hospital on its need and capacity for operating specific equipment before considering a donation of hospital equipment.
We give our heartfelt thanks to our major donors for their continuous support: the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation and Apotex Inc. for the Drugs & Medical Supplies Chapter, and the Roncalli International Foundation for its support of the Equipment Chapter.
LACOR HOSPITAL: ONE YEAR LATER
Activity Report: 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016
The malaria that resurfaced with vehemence in 2015 continued to require a serious response. Between June and August, Lacor had to fit four hospitalized children in each available bed. In fact, paediatric hospitalizations have more than doubled, increasing from 7,646 to 15,656. This rise in infections resulted from the interruption in international aid that once supported the Ugandan Ministry of Health’s capacity to disinfect huts in more remote villages.
Lacor Hospital’s contribution is also essential to maternal health. Last year, Lacor confirmed its position as an important reference hospital for mothers, carrying out 6,600 deliveries and 1,200 caesarean sections. Not only is Lacor the only centre in northern Uganda that offers chemotherapy for Burkitt’s lymphoma, the most common malignant tumor in children, but it is also the only centre available for the treatment of obstetric fistulas which, if not cured, lead to serious physical and social hardships.
Last year, Lacor Hospital proved its accomplishments as a reference center of excellence for both health care and training. Almost 300,000 patients were treated.
Lacor continues to act as the reference training centre for northern Uganda, hosting over 700 residents and non-residents.
In recent years, Uganda’s Ministry of Health has asked Lacor to strengthen existing training activities and introduce new courses to respond to the shortage of health personnel in the country. In response, Lacor introduced a 2-year course for operating room assistants in September 2015.
On average, 250 health professionals graduate from the Lacor Hospital each year; many of these graduates are hired directly from Lacor, while others enter the Ugandan health sector.
Total patients treated: 291,157
Hospital Admissions Total: 58,294
Outpatient Total: 232,863