Pakistan’s awful health care division is ravenous for funds, the latest technology and drugs — and those who can’t afford treatment have turned to St. Joseph’s.
Since 1964, St. Joseph’s Hospice has taken care of hundreds of injured and ailing patients, who had no other place to go even as Pakistan experienced two military triumphs, wars and a dangerous rise in militancy. But as prosperous donors and foreign benefactors take off the violence and unrest, so too did the donation the hospice relies on to treat some 100 patients who visit every day.
The hospice has monthly funds of about 1.5 million rupees however administrative there say they have been in front of a deficit of half a million rupees a month. They’ve on loan funds and cut expenses as low as they could, but there’s not a lot they can do.
Margaret Walsh, an Irish nun who has run the facility as the chief administrator since 2009 said, “Initially, we managed to handle the situation, but now the situation is alarming, I feel pain when I think about the worst scenario of closing down the hospital.”
Rehmat Michael Hakim, chairman of the hospital’s executive committee that oversees the functions of the hospice says that mounting expenses from ever-increasing utility bills has extremely affected St. Joseph’s. He said the hospice relies on generators during load shading to warm paralyzed patients.
“If we don’t use electricity heaters in winter, the patients will die of cold,” Hakim said.
A priest got inspiration from Mother Teresa while visiting her in India built St. Joseph’s. Despite the prejudice that Pakistan’s Christians repeatedly faces, the country has an extensive history of Christian missionary schools and hospitals serving Pakistanis across the nation. Many of Pakistan’s leaders attended missionary schools, and the schools and hospitals that the missionaries created are well-reputed.
They hope to raise the money to continue operating the 60-bed hospice and keeping its staff of doctors, nurses, aides and three nuns on staff.
Otherwise, as Hakim asks: “Where will these patients go if this institution is closed?”