Tuesday 13th June 2017 was a very significant day at Lalhgadh as it it saw the official opening of the new out-patient facilities that have been under construction for two years. The existing buildings, which were only designed for our expected leprosy case-load of 12,000 or so visits a year plus a few general cases from the local community, have long since been swamped by the many thousands of general patients who come for help with skin problems. Last year saw over 100,000 patient visits, and one day more than 900 people came to Lalgadh for help! This has meant that both patients and staff have been trying to work and fit into a space that is just not big enough, and when temperatures are in the high 30s life becomes almost
The new buildings project grew out of a need for new footwear facilities, as our old ones were primitive and had always been temporary. It was realized that our whole out-patient facility had become inadequate and so it seemed better to upgrade the whole facility with a new registration, billing, and consultation area, an enlarged laboratory, an accident and emergency unit, as well as the much-needed new footwear and prosthetics unit. The buildings were designed by Ueli Zürrer, the same architect who designed the original buildings, and the final result is every bit as good as we hoped. Staff and patients now have much better working and waiting areas than before, so that comfort, even in the heat, is more attainable. Smoother patient management will also be greatly assisted by the better registration and billing area, and we now have better A&E facilities, which replace the little room that was used when people were brought in from road traffic accidents, etc.
We are greatly indebted to American Leprosy Missions and the American Schools and Hospitals Assistance programme for these wonderful new buildings, and the US Aid representative for Nepal, Linda Kentrow, came to be a part of the opening ceremonies. Various people, including Linda Kentrow, Mike Winterburn of NLT Ireland, Dr Hugh Cross of ALM, and our Mike Houghton had to say a few words and it was great to see Lalgadh embarking on the next level of its work there in Nepal.