NEWS FROM LACOR HOSPITAL – WINTER 2021
Lacor Hospital represents a Global Dream, where anyone, no matter their background, social status, religion, or political affiliation, can achieve success and contribute to the common good through hard work and perseverance.
Through our Global Dream, we all connect, striving to provide health care to the poor and to fight disease and poverty. These connections were nourished in Lacor’s early years by Drs Lucille Teasdale, Piero Corti, Matthew Lukwiya, and Brother Elio Croce. Today, they are sustained by Lucille and Piero’s daughter Dominique Corti, Lacor’s current directors, its doctors and nurses, and all the other workers at the hospital and its supporting foundations, as well as by our numerous donors, big and small.
The success of the Pharmacy Management project is due to the close collaboration between our cherished Lacor pharmacists, Canadian pharmacists, and donor Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation. They have demonstrated a constant concern to target local needs and work with the staff in place to find adequate solutions while respecting the reality of the surrounding communities. Lacor pharmacy now plays an essential role in the development of the hospital, most recently participating as part of the Covid Working Group.
This edition brings you two stories. The first is about the journey of Lacor’s pharmacy department, while the second is about the reaction of Livia, a young girl from Canada, to all the restrictions caused by the pandemic. Livia’s exposé shows how our actions can have a positive impact on the people around us. We have all witnessed generous gestures during this difficult time.
We wish you a good holiday season and a healthy 2022.
Determination and dedication to community health are what makes the partnership between the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation (MJCF), Lacor Hospital and the Teasdale-Corti Foundation stand out. Success in developing countries with few resources requires taking a step-by-step approach, ensuring each team member pays careful attention to a project’s growth. Lacor’s pharmacy department reflects one of the many achievements resulting from this close collaboration.
Sitting in her office above the very first Jean Coutu Pharmacy, Marie-Josée Coutu, head of MJCF, stepped in with her invaluable moral and financial support to help Lacor’s pharmacy, demonstrating the same tenacity and care of her parents. In June 1969, Marie-Josée’s father, Jean, opened his first discount pharmacy at the corner of Mont-Royal and Garnier streets. Supported by his wife Marcelle, who had found the location during her walks with her children, Jean Coutu put all their family savings into this endeavor. In the new and spacious Jean Coutu Pharmacy, the objective was to use the profits generated by the commercial section of the pharmacy to finance the additional costs of maintaining the on-site services of a pharmacist at all times. In other words, Jean Coutu Pharmacy would sell all consumer goods at cut prices and add pharmaceutical and parapharmaceutical products also sold at the lowest possible price, making medicine affordable for the general population. And, as they say, the rest is history. The pharmacy became a large, successful franchise called Groupe Jean Coutu, always remaining close to the community with the famous slogan: On trouve de tout… même un ami!In 1990, MJCF was launched. Today, this Foundation is one of the most respected in Quebec, supporting causes that share their same values across the province, country and globe, including Lacor Hospital.
In 2010, Dr. Bruno Corrado, the director of Lacor, was seeking professional help to reorganize the hospital’s pharmacy. At that time, the medications and medical supplies were stored in closets. Slowly but surely, with funding from MJCF, the local team, led by head pharmacist Sister Josephine Oyella, reorganized Lacor’s pharmacy to allow for better categorization and space for all medicines and medical supplies. All products became captured and tracked in a computerized system. Over the years, Lacor’s technical department renovated the pharmacy to improve the flow and efficiency of medical supply and dispensation, putting the local pharmacy staff in a better position to perform daily inventory management activities and take quarterly stock with increased conscientiousness and precision. The pharmacy staff also started providing direct delivery of medicines and medical supplies to the inpatient units using a min/max order book system, freeing up time for nurses to spend with patients. Chemotherapy preparation and non-sterile compounding were also set up within the pharmacy, increasing the pharmacy staff’s repertoire of medicines and services.
Local staffing also increased in the central pharmacy and pharmacy satellites, and local pharmacy interns regularly provide clinical and technical pharmacy support. Education is also essential to this project, so Lacor pharmacists participated in curriculum development and teaching of diploma and certificate students at the Gulu University Pharmacy program. They continue to support and teach pharmacology for the on-site nurse and anesthesia assistant training program at Lacor. Students from abroad – Universities of Montreal and Toronto – have significantly contributed and advanced quality improvement, operational, and drug utilization projects that improve patient care.
Lately, Lacor pharmacists and staff have played an essential role in managing the pandemic. The pharmacy department was part of the COVID task force, infection control committee, and Medicines Therapeutics Committee. One pharmacist with interest in pharmaceutical production facilitated the development of on-site hand sanitizer production.
We are proud that Lacor pharmacy has become one of the best hospital pharmacy in Uganda. Other institutions such as Mubende Hospital, Lira Hospital, Jinja Regional Hospital, and Kabale Regional Referral Hospital now benchmark the good pharmacy practice standards set by Lacor, but this does not mean that Lacor is slowing down. On the contrary, the following steps are to implement the Unit Dose Distribution (UDD) system, which will provide the prescribed dose of a specific drug for a particular patient at a specific time. The pharmacy will also continue to share pharmacy management experience and successes, benefitting patients in other disadvantaged settings.
We warmly thank everyone involved in this project, including Sister Josephine, who gave up her dream of becoming a doctor to be Lacor’s head pharmacist; Jacob Odora, the Lacor pharmacist who has been the heart and soul of hand-sanitizing production during COVID; Jacintha Otine, another Lacor local pharmacist awarded by the University of Toronto as best preceptor; local pharmacy technicians and assistants; the technical department and administration department; Lacor directors, Dr. Odong, Dr. Martin and Dr. Cyprian; the Canadian pharmacy students; the Italian and Canadian Teasdale-Corti Foundation teams; Doret Cheng, a Canadian pharmacist who quit her job in Canada for a year to establish the project’s foundation; Susan Fockler, another Canadian pharmacist who has been at Lacor several times and who is working closely with Doret and all the local staff ; and last but not least the Coutu family. The support of the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation enabled Lacor Hospital’s Pharmacy Department to advance in ways that would not otherwise be possible. Needless to say, the success of this project is a team effort.
Livia participated in the Barreau du Québec competition called “Write for Justice.” The theme was: “What is your responsibility, as a young citizen, when society is faced with a crisis?” In March 2021, her 250-word article was named the winner in the French elementary student category.
She shares her article, translated into English, with our readers.
Covid-19 struck down Montreal. In the living room, the conversation is tense. I’m mad. My parents forbid me to see my grandparents because they are afraid that I will infect them. My parents send me for a walk with my dog to calm me down and reflect on the current situation.
In a park, I hear a strange noise. I turn around and see snow in the air and a cross-country ski sliding towards me, abandoned. I quietly approach, a little worried. I see an elderly man on the ground, alone, unable to get up. I want to help him, but I have stopped my actions because I am afraid of infecting him. I turn around and see no one to help him except me. I slip him his ski pole for him to stand up, but the man falls back. I’m trying to think of a solution. My heart is heavy.
I run to my house, my dog in my arms, I am out of breath. In a few words, I explain the situation to my parents. When we go to the park, they see the elderly person and call 911. The ambulance care assistants arrive with masks and take care of the gentleman.
Subsequently, I ask my parents for a compromise. They agree to take me to my grandparents. I greet them, through the window, I feel great happiness and my eyes fill with tears. My responsibility is to stay away from them physically while keeping them close to my heart.
Livia’s writing achievement gave her a cash prize of $200. She donated half of her prize money to the Foundation to help treat children in Uganda, and says: “I donated because I’m happy for everything that I have here, and would like to give to others that are not as fortunate.”