In the March 2008 issue of The Far East we told you about St Elizabeth’s Hospital and its service to the people of Hyderabad and the lower areas of Sindh province. Not only is it a hospital but a facility for training nurses and midwives to guarantee the future for Pakistani women and babies.St Elizabeth’s Hospital was established in 1958 and is a non-profit institution. It is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad, Pakistan and is run on its behalf by the Medical Board of the Diocese. Since 1975 it has been staffed by Pakistani personnel. Today three Holy Family sisters from Sri Lanka supervise the nursing and oversee the St Elizabeth’s School of Midwifery.
The School is attached to the hospital and trains nurses and midwives. The young women who are students there come from all over Pakistan. At the time of selection, special preference is given to those who come from less developed areas and from marginalised communities with a view to advancing the socio-economic position of these women and to provide trained professional personnel for mother, neo-natal and infant care in Pakistan.
Currently 53 women are enrolled in the 18 month programme of studies. The School is supervised by the Holy Family Sisters. It’s registered with the Sindh Board of Midwifery. In spite of the disadvantaged background of most of the young women who enrol in the School, their personal potential emerges and is fostered to the extent that students from St Elizabeth’s School of Midwifery consistently obtain two of the first three places in the annual Sindh Board of Midwifery examinations.
The funding of the School is an ongoing problem. Given the background of those enrolled, fees have to be kept at the barest minimum. The hospital administration is committed to the support of the School of Midwifery. However, the small amount of money given annually by the hospital to keep the school running seriously affects our ability to implement the vision and mission of the hospital to provide good medical care to those in the greatest need.
Given its mission to care for the marginalised and poor irrespective of creed or caste, St Elizabeth’s is unable to depend upon the limited income it generates to finance the running costs of the hospital and School of Midwifery, to provide free care for those who are in need, to upgrade and purchase new equipment, to establish the planned palliative care service for the terminally ill and to continue with its wide range of outreach services and programmes.
If you would like to send a donation please forward it to the Columban Mission Centre with the designation "St Elizabeth’s Hospital." Donations are Australian tax-deductible through the Columban Overseas Fund.
Fr Robert McCulloch has been a missionary in Pakistan since 1978.