So, I have spent the past two weeks going over finances, programs, invoices, etc. to see what we can do with the money they have budgeted. A large portion of our flying budget (80%) goes to transporting sick patients to/from the mountains. That cost is more than what we are given for next year so something has to change. The Lesotho Flying Doctor Services program is expensive as it involves flying, but it is the Lesotho Government's program. It costs money to fly sick people, clinic staff and immediate family, Doctor Team, Public Health Team, Environmental Health Team, Cargo (drugs, coal, wood, gas, food, coffins). It is heart wrenching to have to make these cuts but that is my responsibility as Manager, LFDS.
So, beginning April 1st, we will only fly what we call Code-1 patients. Those that have life threatening emergencies out of the mountain clinics. For example a pregnant mother whose labor is problematic as she can't give birth the normal way; or the man we flew out Wednesday that was semi-comatose; or the infant with pneumonia who needs hospitalization, etc.
Hopefully all will survive and we will be able to fly them back to their mountain clinics to get to their homes.
As far as the Doctor Team, we will continue to fly to the two health posts as they are places that have no clinic except what we provide when we go there twice a month. We will also go once a month to the two mountain clinics where there is no doctor stationed. The Public Health Care team (two nurses who do vaccinations and pre-natal care) will continue to go to the two health posts once a month. We will stop our services of eye care and dental care in the 7 mountain clinics that have a doctor stationed there. We will continue to fly our LFDS staff that work in the mountain clinics in and out on a monthly basis as per their agreement. And we will try our best to get the cargo where it needs to go as well.
These are drastic measures that have to be taken in order to provide some basic services throughout the coming fiscal year. I will be meeting again today with the gov't to 'beg' for the money to be able to do at least what we did this past fiscal year, but I am not very confident they will find the money.
Please join me in prayer in interceding for the Mountain Basotho as they will suffer from these cut backs, and for our LFDS staff as they also see the suffering. I'll keep you posted if things change.