Our Challenges
Date Posted: Aug 6 2015

We’ve spoken a lot recently about some big successes within our fundraising effort, as well as marking two years since the inauguration of the hospital. Today we thought we’d discuss some of the more challenging aspects of our project, so here are five of the biggest challenges facing Hospital for Hope as we continue into the third year of the hospital’s operation.

Weather

Rainy season in Jharkhand poses a big problem, and it is two fold:

1. A significant rainfall poses a direct threat to the hospital site. During rainy season, downpours can be heavy and prolonged – this always brings the risk of flooding to the site and damage to the building and its contents.

2. Rainy season is also when cases of many diseases rise. Obvious diseases such as pneumonia increase around this time, but also diseases such as malaria, due to the increased activity of the disease-carrying mosquitos. Finally, there are also increased numbers of less obvious issues, such as snake bites. In combination, and along with many other conditions, this can lead to a spike in patient numbers. This can lead to an especially busy period for the hospital and its staff over the months of rainy season. Patient numbers are so vastly different between rainy and dry seasons that planning of resources is a constant and ongoing challenge.

Infrastructure

We often talk about the ‘rural’ location in which the Hospital for Hope is based. This really starts to become an issue when discussing infrastructure and the challenges we face. We told you previously about how difficult it could be for villagers to get to the nearest hospital, before the Hospital for Hope opened locally. Those same issues now arise for getting supplies and support into the area – particularly in rainy season. Ordering of supplies, control of stocks and medicines and getting new equipment can mean deliveries from far away and can be a challenging process. The hospital has to be prepared in case of being isolated if the surrounding infrastructure fails.

Site Limitations

Our hospital site itself continues to develop and change. Currently there is no laboratory support and diagnostic testing is carried out using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Similarly, provision for support of pregnant women and labor services are limited. While additional services would always be an improvement, we have to develop these slowly, in a sustainable way and in response to a genuine need from the community. Our next steps are to fit solar panels to provide continuous power and, with this in place, refrigeration. These are key steps in being able to widen the scope of the services our hospital can provide.

Communication

As a founding team based primarily in the US, and a hospital in rural India, communication is an ongoing challenge for our project. We are certainly a project of our generation as mobile communication and the internet are the only reasons this works at all. Even one generation ago, this – coupled with our crowdfunding set-up – would have been completely unworkable. Hopefully as technology progresses, communication for our project and others like it will only get easier.

Healthcare Inequalities

The healthcare inequalities of India are why there is a need for the Hospital for Hope at all. While we acknowledge that things like childhood vaccinations appear to be carried out across this rural area, support for more widespread healthcare provision was previously lacking.

Our hospital is funded directly by our ‘Hospital for Hope’ fundraising as well as by payments from patients – it operates without government or public service intervention. This is a deliberate choice on the part of our team. While we have been successful for the first two years, it does mean that it is even more important that our ultimate goal is realized…

Our Ultimate Goal is… sustainability.

We value each and every donation we receive, and without them we couldn’t have set up, or continue to run, the hospital. Our ultimate goal though, is for the hospital for be self-sustaining. Patients are willing to pay to receive medical attention and treatment, and do so at any other medical provider. Our aim is that patients pay a reasonable and fair price for the services they receive if they possibly can, while treatment is subsidised for those who cannot.

Sustainability is the only way the hospital can thrive in the long-term. These five challenges face us, and the hospital, every single day. With a goal to ultimately producing a truly self-sustaining hospital, we continue in our efforts and thank each of you for your support along the way.