A Jesuit Hospital? Really?


In early 1974 a small group of religious and faithful of the Chad community in Africa decided that the people of the region needed access to modern healthcare. Led by Jesuit father Angelo Gherardi SJ, in partnership with the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne Antide, and supported by the Chadian Community for Progress (ATCP), this spark of a ministry would turn into “The Good Samaritan Hospital-University Complex”, a multi-location apostolate with a mandate to “provide quality care to the people of Chad, a framework for study, training and education for students especially the most disadvantaged in rural and urban areas.” From its foundation as a classic hospital - with 120 beds providing pediatric, maternity, internal medicine, radiology, lab and surgery services – to its evolution in 1986 into a teaching hospital with the support of the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine, to approval in 1990 by the Ministry of Public Health to open health centers in the outlying areas of Goundi, Good Samaritan has constantly adapted to the needs of the people it serves.

With a decades-long service to the region that has received recognition from the World Health Organization and the Chad Ministry of Health, it is no surprise that Good Samaritan and its 9 Health Centers will be the first apostolate visited by Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Fr. Sosa, currently at the start of his first visit of the West Africa Province, has known about Good Samaritan for years. The award-winning “Program of Integral Health” provided a great example of the “preferential option for the poor” that came out of the 34th General Congregation and Fr. General has watched the work expand from an experiment serving 45,000 people in 1974, to a world-class health care provider serving more than 140,000 people today.


Jesuit partners, like the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne Antide and the Ministry of Health have enabled the work to grow and prosper, but the Jesuits sent to work at Good Samaritan have been vital to its success. From Fr. Gherardi in the 70’s to the additional of Fr. François Cortadellas, SJ and Br. Dr Leopoldo Labrin, SJ in the 90’s, the Society of Jesus has found Jesuits dedicated to health care to serve at Good Samaritan. With firm leadership, Good Samaritan broke with the decades-old model of health care in the region, in which hospitals and dispensaries are disconnected entities, by creating the “Program of Integrated Health.” The program connected hospitals with dispensaries and clinics, allowing 90% of the population to be served with better care, closer to their homes, and an unheard-of cost savings of up to 98% when compared to a hospital-centric care model.

Today the Good Samaritan complex has about 300 health care professionals at its N’Djamena and Goundi sites, not including its dispensaries and clinics. The complex provides general practitioners, nurses, and midwives - specialists in surgery, pediatrics, gynecology, and a dozen other fields – all who pool their skills to meet the needs of a vulnerable population. In addition to the professionals, there are more than 50 medical, and 170 nursing students. The complex has partnerships with the Pontifical University of Chile, the University of Reims in France, the University Hospital Puerta del Mar de Cadiz in Spain, as well as several other universities and training facilities in Spain and Lebanon.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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