Thursday, November 14, 2013

Grateful for Our Hospital

(For those just tuning in, this is the fourth installment of things I’m grateful for this November.)

Boy, with all the stuff we’re thankful for, we haven’t even mentioned the hospital yet! We gotta pay the bills somehow, right?

I’d like to tell you a little bit about how our hospital runs. (Very slowly, because it has no feet! Hahahahahaha! I’m hilarious!)

Ok, seriously, I’d like to tell you how the hospital operates. (It doesn’t, my father-in-law does all the surgery! Ha! I crack myself up!)

Alright, I’ve got my straight face on now:

I’d like to tell you how the hospital functions:

Bere Adventist Hospital is proud to report that we have become financially ‘semi’-independent.

It’s odd to say, but your donations to Bere Adventist Hospital are what have allowed us to gain this independence. The reliance on donations is the ‘semi’ part. Your donations have allowed us to undertake grand projects, improve infrastructure and give us new opportunities to serve the people of Tchad and the surrounding countries. (And in turn, giving us more ways to make money.)

I always imagined missionary hospitals as places providing free care to every patient that walked in the door. But the reality is… We have bills to pay. We have almost fifty employees who depend on their paycheck to care for their families. We need medicine, lab and cleaning supplies, and items for our operating room every day. We have bills. Last year, our bills were over $300,000 for our little bush hospital. This year will be considerably higher.

We earned enough to cover the $300,000+ in expenses from last year. And, barring catastrophe, we will earn enough this year to cover our increasing expenses as well.

To give you a few examples, the hospitalization fee for one week on pediatrics is $3. A doxycycline pill is four cents, while a pill of prednisolone is a penny. A malaria test costs $1.40. A hysterectomy costs $100 (all medications, labs, etc included). These are the patients’ bills that keep us functioning.

If you are not impressed, consider this. We handle all emergencies free of charge. If your child is sick, their initial workup and treatment is free, up to three days. We have never charged for the delivery of a baby, whether vaginal or Cesarean-section. We don’t charge for emergency operations, such as appendectomies, laparotomies, strangulated hernias and many others.

And if you are STILL not impressed, consider this. We even have enough money left over for small projects, such as building an office for our chaplain, a supply building, toilets, etc. Last year, when the our church conference was out of money and couldn’t pay their own salaries, we paid that for them. We also spend several hundred dollars every year on evangelistic efforts. We are proud to be able to help our church.

This financial solvency has always been our goal, and we feel that we have attained it. While we are very sensitive to ensuring patient care remains affordable and accessible to all, dependence on donations to stay afloat is not the ideal and we have avoided that. We are immensely proud. I am also proud of our administrator, Augustin, who deserves much of the credit for this.

However, the improvements we have seen lately in leaps and bounds far surpasses what Bere Adventist Hospital could do on its own in a century. No matter how seriously we take our financial responsibilities, we could never have achieved what we have, were it not for the interventions of extraordinary philanthropy.

It’s your donations that build the patient wards, buy an ultrasound or x-ray machine, pay for shipping containers full of supplies (not to mention organizations like Brother’s Brother Foundation, who just donated 100 pounds of high-quality, mostly new surgical equipment!!!). These are the big project costs the hospital would never have been able to pay for. And it’s these projects which help generate income for the hospital.

The One-Day Project, ASI and Maranatha have generously erected for us these building shells (mentioned in the last blog), and donations from our home church in Springfield, Massachusetts, as well as A Better World-Canada (and Thomas et Sebastian!) are continuing to make it possible to finish the insides. But it’s not just these huge donations that grab our attention. Massive amounts of our support comes in the form of a few dollars here and there. I’m sure there are people wondering if their small donations make a difference. I’m here to say they do!

Not only have the building shells been donated and erected free of charge to the hospital, there have been commitments to pay for part of sidewalks and wall enclosures for the property. So even these ‘side’ projects have been accomplished ahead of schedule and at a heavily discounted price to our wallets.

Through our ongoing projects, we are doing all we can to ensure that Bere Adventist Hospital will continue to be financially responsible and solvent, not to mention medically relevant and capable, for decades to come. This is a place where lives (employees as well as patients and their families) will continue to be changed.

I’m immensely grateful this November for the opportunity I have to serve at Bere Adventist Hospital. We now do more surgeries than any other hospital in the country, to the tune of over 1200 cases/year. In February, when the roads were dry, we averaged over six surgical cases per day, including all weekends and holidays, with only ONE operating room. We turned many people away as we regularly had a backlog of twenty patients waiting for surgery. We now have 10,000 patients passing through our gate each year, most of them accompanied by multiple family members. The opportunities to witness here are immense, humbling and occasionally overwhelming. And I’m so happy to be overwhelmed.

Coming up next…

Philanthropy in Action

olen and danae

Olen Tigo: +235 91 91 60 32
Danae Tigo: +235 90 19 30 38

Olen et Danae Netteburg
Hopital Adventiste de Bere
52 Boite Postale
Kelo, Tchad

Volunteers Welcome!!!

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