Dr Miklos Toth and his wife, Elena Toth, the founders of the Millennium Health
Foundation (MHF), recently visited their clinic , The Miklos and Elena Toth Health
Center In Uganda, Africa.
The clinic was established in one of the poorest regions of the country which is struck
by multidimensional poverty. The Toths wanted to prove that their development
oriented investment could become self-sustaining as a result of careful planning and
support from the community. Since inception the Clinic has cared for over two thousand
patients, it never turns anybody away but a nominal visit fee is requested from those who
can afford it.
During their visit the Toths met with the staff and discussed plans to expand and improve the
function of the clinic. They had meetings with local politicians and community leaders who provided
help and guidance.With them the Toths laid down the foundation for local micro finance projects
supporting small businesses in the area. The first such project was Elena's Boutique, a small shop for
women's clothing, which opened in July, 2012. The shop will use 20% of its gross income to support the clinic.
The second project is a produce shop which is up and running under the same principle. The following is a short narrative that describes in pictures and text the Toths' journey in Uganda. This endeavor resulted in a unique investment project that can serve as an example for future aid programs.
The clinic is located about 400 km North-East of Kampala, and is open every first Saturday of the month. It also provides onsite screening at the neighboring parishes. The slideshow tells us the remarkable story of this development -oriented investment.
We can see: the clinic from the outside, Elena in an "ad hoc" conference with local politicians aboutfuture plans for the clinic, the patients waiting to be seen, the youngest patient of the day, a group of politicians and community leaders listening to our proposals and the two micro finance projects to support the clinic:
Elena's Boutique which opened in July 2012, is running well and the clothes are flying off the racks.
The Produce shop with sacks full of rice, and manager Hajira who is sitting on them. She has a "first in a life time hand- on experience" of private ownership. The micro finance projects contribute 20% of their income to support the clinic. The plan is that in a few years these women will finance and take full ownership of the Toth Health Center .
The story of the Toth's Clinic proves that the key to a successful aid program is to empower the local population by putting down the foundations of an ownership society. In the process aid quickly changes its nature as a handout. It becomes a powerful fiscal and psychological stimulus.