Untapped Potential

EHA’s Lalitpur Hospital, Harriet Benson Memorial (HBMH), is a glowing example of the deep commitment EHA personnel bring to their work. Desperately short of staff at all levels, the team still manages to serve more than 10,000 patients each year. More importantly, with additional personnel and financial resources, the hospital has great potential for wide impact in the Lalitpur community. As an indication of the hospital’s extensive influence, it is believed that about 80 percent of the people who live in Lalitpur were born at HBMH.

Much of their income currently comes from lab services performed (9,000 annually) and ultrasounds provided (1,600-2,300 annually), and they recently began offering cancer screening for women. Because they currently have no OB/GYN, they are not allowed to deliver babies, which would be a consistent source of income for them.

They have a fully equipped audiology department but need an audiologist. They have the facilities for eye surgery, but have had to rely on outside surgeons to come in and operate for their eye camps. They run a number of community outreach programs including eye screening, orthopedic camps, general health camps, and health/demographic surveys. Their palliative care team conducts 800 home visits each year.

The HBMH staff have been able to complete a number of facility improvements in the last several years, including paving the courtyard, installing a diesel generator and an oxygen generation plant, and upgrading the wards with new beds that each have oxygen piped to them.

The biggest challenge currently facing HBMH is low patient numbers, which has caused them to fall five months behind on salaries for all staff. There are actually people called touts who stand at the entrance to HBMH and tell people to go to the local government hospital across the street instead—in spite of the fact that the government hospital would likely charge more than patients can afford. There is a great need for more medical staff at the hospital which would open up the services they are able to offer. And there are a number of facility improvements needed as well as equipment that should be updated.

There is great potential at HBMH, and your support would go a long way toward meeting these needs. Thank you for your generosity.