On 28/06/2010 the Minister of Health, Prof. David Mwakyusa, appointed St. Francis Hospital as Referral Hospital for the whole region of Morogoro. Now it is one of 9 Referral Hospitals in Tanzania. That means that all hospitals in the surrounding districts which are not equipped with the necessary personnel and gadgets and can therefore not treat certain patients properly transfer them to Ifakara. Its area of responsibility has been extended this way, and the responsible staff are faced with great new challenges. The key functions of the hospital are to provide health care services to the sick, supportive environment of learning and research in health. The hospital is used as a teaching platform for the newly established Medical School (St. Francis University College of Health and Allied Sciences), Tanzanian Training Centre for International Health (TTCIH) and Ifakara School of Nursing. It is also used as a research site for Ifakara Health Institute (IHI). The hospital accommodates medical students from various countries coming for elective clerkship. In addition the hospital is recognized as World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating district hospital.
A bird's eye view of the hospital in 2000
And now in 2021
The new hospital was planned by Dr. Karl Schoepf himself. It was his goal to build a modern hospital with European standards. Its architecture is therefore –according to the tropical climate – bright, open and airy in all directions, with big windows, wide terraces in front of every ward and spacious areas of lawn between the buildings. On the other hand, the functional arrangement corresponds in its logic to the European example.
Main entrance with a waving Tyrolean flag
The whole hospital is a ground-levelled construction, except for two one-storey buildings on either end of the central longitudinal axis formed by a broad roofed corridor open to both sides.
The main entrance is situated on the ground floor of the front building. The offices of Administration and Medical Director lie on the first floor. In the rear building there are a kitchen, the library, the pharmacy, the hospital chapel and the offices of the new University. The foundations of the whole hospital are more than half a meter higher than the lawn, so as to safeguard the buildings against being flooded in the rainy season, even during heavy thunderstorms. Finally, all important connecting passages are roofed.
St. Francis Hospital has 371 beds and is divided into departments for Surgery, Internal Medicine, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Paediatrics, Ophthalmology, Chronic Diseases, Orthopedics, Community Health Department and Intensive Care. Additionally, there are outpatients’ departments and wards for Tuberculosis, Dental Medicine, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychiatry, Leprosy, Rehabilitation, an X-ray department and a laboratory, and a special laboratory for the production of infusions, something not imaginable in Europe. Outpatients are examined and treated in a special building situated in front of the hospital, with departments for eye diseases, skin diseases and HIV/AIDS.
In the Outpatient Department, about 90.000 patients are treated per year, in the Inpatient Departments about 11.000. The number of births amounts to about 5000 per year. This vast number of patients has to be seen in relation to the number of doctors (in 2021):
9 Specialists full time, 8 part time
14 Medical Officers
8 Assistant Medical Officers
6 Clinical officers
77 Interns Doctors
77 Medical Attendents
Diocese Day-to-day affairs are carried out by a committee consisting of
Fr. Godfrey Hongo - Director General
Fr. Dr. Winfrid Gingo - Director of Medical Services
Mr. Onesmo Ngenzi - Director of Finance and Administration
Mr. Meshak Lubeleje - Patron
The hospital is co-financed by the Tanzanian Government and the Diocese of Ifakara. Running costs such as basic salaries of employees and medicaments are covered by the government accounting for 42% of the annual hospital budget. The Diocese is responsible for the maintenance of buildings and gadgets, for investments, and bonuses. “Cost-Sharing” is another important source of income. It means, patients are charged a certain amount of money for hospital stays, treatment, examinations (e.g. X-ray), operations and medicaments. Only very poor people are exempt from this charge. The income from this source amounts to 36% of the budget. Theoretically, this financing model seems to be reasonable. Unfortunately, in practice it does not work at all as it should.