14 Jul Lacor Hospital Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary
Lacor Hospital celebrates its 60th Anniversary this year. 60 years is the same age as life expectancy in Uganda. This achievement makes the staff at Lacor feel very proud, but at the same time heightens their awareness of the challenges facing the hospital and its staff.
The aim of the hospital is to keep in step with the times without falling victim to modern day temptations, and to keep building on the solid foundations laid by Lacor’s founders, Dr. Piero Corti from Italy and Dr. Lucille Teasdale from Canada. The hospital’s mission: “to offer the best possible care to the greatest number of people at the least cost.”
Lacor Hospital through the years
1959: A Comboni Missionary and Bishop of Gulu start Lacor Hospital.
1961: Dr. Piero Corti begins his work at the hospital. The hospital consists of one outpatient department, about 30 beds, a handful of Comboni Missionary sisters acting as midwives and nurses, and a few local staff trained on the job. Dr.Lucille Teasdale joins Dr. Corti and sets up a surgical ward. They are married in the hospital chapel in December.
1973: The hospital’s Nurse Training School opens.
1974: Two of the three peripheral health centers open- Opit and Pabbo.
1976: The third health center opens in Amuru.
1978: After independence from the British, there are a series of violent conflicts. Dr. Teasdale is the only surgeon in the area capable of doing complicated war surgery. Government hospitals close, but Lacor remains open.
1983: Doctor Matthew Lukwiya arrives at Lacor Hospital for an internship for doctors newly graduated from medical school in Kampala.
1984: Almost all the staff at the hospital are Ugandan, which was a wish of Dr. Corti and Dr. Teasdale. Brother Elio Croce, a Comboni Missionary, arrives at Lacor to manage the technical department.
1985: Dr. Teasdale contracts HIV while operating on patients. She continues to perform surgeries as the extremely low risk of infecting her patients outweighs the much greater risk of untreated patients.
1986: The hospital adds a second surgical department and three additional operating theaters. The hospital is ransacked day and night throughout the years of war. In exchange for drugs and money, nurses are kidnapped and released. 90% of hospital staff live with their families inside the hospital grounds for safety.
1991: The “night commuters” begin traveling to Lacor to spend the night in safety. Lacor Hospital shelters thousands of people each night from the war.
1993: The Lacor campus is built and the hospital becomes a teaching site.
1994: Lacor Hospital is now a 450 bed hospital with 400 Ugandan staff. A new outpatient facility opens, and both the Italian and Canadian Foundations are formed to help ensure long-term support for the hospital.
1996: Dr. Lucille Teasdale dies on August 1, and her body is buried on the grounds of Lacor Hospital. 90% of the local population are living in displaced people’s camps, and child mortality rates are at their highest as a result of poverty-related illnesses: malaria, malnutrition, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Lacor staff work hard to keep up with the demand for medical care.
2000: Dr. Matthew Lukwiya returns to Lacor Hospital and diagnoses the first cases of what is to become largest Ebola Outbreak ever recorded at the time. He contracts Ebola through his work and dies in December. He is buried next to Dr. Teasdale.
2003: Dr. Piero Corti dies of pancreatic cancer and is buried at the hospital alongside Dr. Teasdale and Dr. Lukwiya at the hospital.
2008: The three hospital directors began their work. Dr. Opira Cyprian is appointed executive director, Dr. Odong Emintone becomes the medical director, and Dr. Ogwang Martin is named institutional director. All three continue to serve these positions today.
2009: The first medical students trained at Lacor Hospital graduate.
2019: Today, Lacor Hospital serves nearly 250,000 patients each year. It holds 550 beds (including those at its three health centers), employs 700 workers, and has over 600 students studying to become midwives, nurses, lab technicians, and anesthesiologists. More than 35,000 mothers delivered babies at the hospital in the last year, and 1,580 cesarean sections were performed. Lacor is currently offering its patients free cervical cancer screening.
Lacor Hospital is one of the biggest nonprofit medical centers in Equatorial Africa. Health is a gift of inestimable value, and one that carries the possibility of having a future. We are deeply grateful to you, our donor, for supporting the amazing work carried out each day by the staff of Lacor Hospital.
Happy Anniversary Lacor!