New Health Clinics – The Numbers

We’re 5 months into the trial of the 4 new clinics, with a total of 12 operational months between the health centers – the halfway point in the trial. Cetkana has been running for 5 months, and our most recent Obanga pe Wany. only 1 month. We’re aiming for ‘operationally sustainability’, which means the patient fees cover running costs. The new clinics have already treated 2293 patients combined which is impressive. YAY STATS here goes…

The patients

Here’s the graph of the number of patients seen by each clinic every month. Note Obanga Pe wany only has 1 dot – the clinic has only been running for a month. I’m not currently collating the data for conditions seen (its available at the health cetners), but over 60% of these patients had malaria.

Monthly Patient Number

Two Thirds of our patients are kids under 12, which is great from a saving lives perspective, but not so good for our sustainability as they pay less money.

Age of patients

The money

Patients pay a flat fee which covers Consultation + Test + drugs. This means someone knows before they walk 2 hours to the health center exactly how much money they need. Patients 0-4 years old pay USD 0.70. 5-12 pay US 1$, 13+ pay $1.50. Even in Uganda where people have very little, this is a relatively small amount of money, and always less than transport to the nearest other health facility. You won’t find cheaper healthcare in Northern Uganda outside the hopeless government system.

Over 90% of our running cost are drugs + the nurse’s salary + rent, and from our current experience it takes around 235 patients a month to raise the money required to pay for this. Here’s the graph showing how much money our health centers are losing/gaining each month. The line in the middle is the “sustainability line”, which the health center has to stay above on average to be viable. Keep in mind a couple of really good months can offset 4-6 not so good ones (see Ocim) If you’re wondering why its US rather than NZ dollars, its because the New Zealand Dollar is a backwater currency and we want to be taken seriously. A beautiful backwater though…

Profit Loss

As a side note We also give some stuff out for free, like condoms, family planning and mama kits for pregnant mothers. Nurse Naume at Ocim gave out 300 free condoms one month. Awesome.

Take away points

  • Around 235 patients a month is what’s needed for sustainability
  • Even after only 4 months, Ocim is doing well enough for us to say they can continue indefinitely. Sustainability win and compounded good!
  • Obanga Pe wany had a fantastic first month, if this continues it should also become sustainable.
  • Cetkana is doing a great job, but Is unlikely to become sustainable,.
  • Elegu has started very slowly and is losing a lot of money, but its early days.
  • Stats alone don’t show the good these places are doing. Stay tuned for the non evidence based stories to pull the heartstrings and give the majority of people who didn’t read this blog a warped view of how awesome these health centers are :p.
  • 2/3 of our patients are kids, which is great for their health and their future

PS: Since starting writing this we’ve decided to extend Cetkana’s trial another 3 months to 9 months, Despite their currently unsustainably low number of patients, they’ve actually lost very little money. Unfortunately I doubt they will reach the magical 235 number to be able to continue, but we wanted to give them every chance. Their deficit is only USD 40 a month. You might say, why don’t we just fund that shortfall? That’s so little money to help provide healthcare for 150-200 really poor people a month. People have already offered. Maybe in future we will run centers with small subsidies. For now though lets shoot for the moon and go for 100% local sustainability. It may hurt to shut places down, but we can always go back and through this approach we’ll find the areas which desperately need quality health care, rather than just a lot.

If you got to the end my respect for you is immense. More exciting and inspiring stories coming soon :D.



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to New Health Clinics – The Numbers

  1. Kaye says:

    What you’re doing with the Health Centres is amazing Nick! The people of Northern Uganda are fortunate to have you.
    And yes, I did make it to the end and look forward to hearing more stories soon.

  2. ntlaing says:

    Thanks so much Kaye! Can’t believe you made it to the end too outstanding!

  3. dltovey says:

    I’m having the trouble of sending my comment. Let’s hope this works. I’m amazed at the work God is doing using both of you in Uganda. I love your blogs. They are so encouraging, informative, professional and much more. THANK YOU. – When you next come to your Home Leave do come and visit the NZCMS Auckland those encouraging news to us in person. – Blessings,


    *2/20 Glengarry Road, *

    *Glen Eden,*

    *Auckland 0602*

    *New Zealand*

    *Ph +64 (0)95287773*

    Ma te aroha o te Atua ka manaakitia koe. May the love of God be with you.

  4. Nathan Hughes says:

    Loving the pie chart & graphs Nick! Is there anything you can’t do?

  5. Pete says:

    Thanks for posting this amazing update. (Yes, got to the end) There is such a need for effective, sustainable units in unserved areas. It is wonderful to see the great start the project is making. We thank God for the fabulous work you are doing.

    • ntlaing says:

      Yeah we thank God for the start! There’s just been a massive spraying programme, and we’re already seeing the numbers drop a little bit but I still think the busier ones will be OK. Really hoping to give some more a crack later this year as well.

  6. Holly says:

    This is great Nick. So exciting that your centers are doing so well. It is really good to see solid data informing decision making, but also that you have some flexibility in the system to potentially support those who need it. Is the Cetkana population smaller than the other areas which might be why they struggle to reach the numbers? Look forward to seeing more of your analysis as well the heart warming stories!

Leave a Reply to ntlaing Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s