Sunday, May 06, 2007

Financial crisis at Hope

Hope has hit the financial buffers. There won’t be enough money to pay salaries at the end of the month. Philip is quietly heartbroken. He started the clinic seven years ago with his wife and they have bankrolled it ever since. They have been in Kampala for eleven years and have reached that point where they go home soon, or stay here forever. So they go home next year. They want the clinic to be independent of them before they go. I have spent the last three months trying (gently and completely unsuccessfully) to explain why that won’t work. So this week I got tough. Laid out for Philip his choices, which are;

1. Continue to spend £12000 of his own money every year indefinitely. Plus much of his free time and emotional energy.

2. Sack two thirds of the staff, run a much more limited service and spend significantly less of his own money and time supporting the clinic.

3. Sell it to an entrepreneur, or give it to a big NGO (like MSF) and let them run it. If they’ll have it.

He (the accountant) keeps asking me how we can do the impossible and continue to provide an almost free service to people who need it and might die without it.

I (the doctor) keep showing him the figures and pointing out the awful reality he has to face up to. Bite the bullet or shut up shop.

He’s thinking about it over the weekend.

I’m wondering how NOT to spend the next three months rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic....

1 comment:

The 27th Comrade said...

That causes a tear. None of the proposed directions makes it a cheaper or better service, but they seem like the only way to go.
A tear.