OHS is very complex and expensive. Each of these procedures costs about $7,000 (which compared of course to other countries is still very good value for money). Each is performed on a charitable basis, largely due to generous support from Hwan Sung.
So why do we do this, why do we spend so much on one patient when we know that the same funds would help so many others with less complicated conditions?
As mentioned in Day 16 we do debate this on a regular basis.
- There is a very significant need for such care and treatment. There are many living in Uganda with heart conditions that severely impair the quality, and perhaps reduce the length, of their lives. So these procedures can be life-saving.
- We have access to some donors who want to support this particular need. These funds are essential as the patients can not afford to meet the cost of the procedure.
- At IHK the operations are performed by a visiting consultant, Dr Clement Akomea Agyin, a consultant cardiac surgeon currently working in St Anthony’s Hospital London. He is usually accompanied by a perfusionist; Mr. John Francis Nelson has filled this role in the past. The rest of the team is staff at IHK. This is therefore an important way to develop local capacity, training staff that in the future may be able to perform such procedures without assistance from overseas.
- Each time we perform an OHS camp our management team re-assess the state of equipment and the training levels for staff in the theatres and in the Intensive Care Unit. This drives up our internal standards and capabilities, meaning that we are then more able and better prepared to provide safe, quality care to our other ICU and emergency care patients.
We believe in developing local staff and facilities to perform and deliver across the full spectrum of healthcare, from public health through primary care up to and beyond the tertiary level required for OHS. We are doing this using a financial model that combines local, sustainable private business, IAA Healthcare, and some donor supported initiatives, such as OHS.