Rawalpindi's Catholic hospital risks closure
Due to rising costs and the drastic decline in funds and donations as a result of the global economic crisis, the hospital that operated in a spirit of Christian charity is now struggling to survive.
After nearly half a century in the service of the local population, the St. Joseph hospital in Rawalpindi is at a risk of closure due to lack of funds.
The hospital run by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary based itself on Christian charity to care for local people. But with drastic decline in funds and donations as a result of the global economic crisis, it is now struggling to survive.
The churches in Pakistan have launched on the first Sunday of Advent an appeal for prayer and fundraising to support the structure and ensure the future of the mission as a "sign of hope".
With the motto ‘giving hope to life’, the religious at the hospital led by Sister Margaret Walsh have offered their service with unconditional love for the local people, regardless of faith, ethnicity or social status.
In 2006, the centre and sisters won the Pakistan Government "Recognition of Excellence" for their work and commitment.
Founded in 1964 by the English Catholic missionary Francis O'Leary, St. Joseph Hospice has guaranteed the best medical care to the poor and the handicapped in the city for decades.
With more than one hundred beds, the hospice has welcomed the needy by giving free care and medications, taking care of the weakest and providing training to staff.
The centre has over time become home to many who have been abandoned by their loved ones. Regardless of their faith, the centre is a home for the chronically ill and people born with deformities. Now, they face uncertain future.
Sister Walsh said that the majority of patients in care were Muslims, who came to them knowing that they would receive the care they needed.