Monday, April 13, 2009

Cambodia Calling

I just completed an excellent week helping a pediatric hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia explore ways of becoming sustainable. Angkor Hospital for Children is walking a fine line. They have a solid ten-year reputation for clinical and teaching excellence, but they are fully dependent on foundations, donors and grants for operations while seeing the needs of impoverished farmers in the region grow.

I got acquainted with the leadership team and concluded that they have excellent potential for development. One of the keys to sustainability is for the local community to take psychological ownership of the business. I think the Khmer leaders can get there with a bit of training and mentoring. Another key is to understand what people can afford. I interviewed patients through a translator to discern that 7 out of 8 can probably afford to contribute to the cost of their care.

I worked closely with Dr. Bill Housworth, the American Med/Peds physician who has been the Executive Director at AHC a little over a year. Bill has quickly earned the respect of his team, and we discussed options for HDI to return for management training and strategic planning as the hospital moves toward a user-fee structure. Our financial projections proved the need to diversify the income sources and to plan for increased capacity.

This project was - and could continue to be - an excellent fit for HDI. We focus on helping hospitals like AHC become self-sustaining through sound management practices and wise planning. A little effort from HDI will go a long way toward making sure this hospital will stay in service to those who need it most. That is HDI's calling - to serve hospitals like AHC in Cambodia, and others like it around the globe.