Who we are
The story of the Lacor Hospital is the story of Piero Corti and Lucille Teasdale, two lives bound by love and devotion to the poor.
Working side by side, their life together was spent caring for the poor. Lucille Teasdale and Piero Corti were physicians as well as husband and wife. Over 50 years of commitment, they transformed a small missionary hospital into a major health complex and created the Fondazione Corti to guarantee its operation in the years to come.
Here is our story, told with pictures that are dear to our hearts
- On the savannah of northern Uganda, the Combonian missionaries found a small hospital for the diocese of Gulu, St. Mary’s Hospital, near Lacor.
- Two young doctors – Piero Corti and Lucille Teasdale – arrive at the Lacor Hospital. The hospital consists of an outpatient clinic, a maternity ward and roughly fifty beds. Their collaboration would become a lifelong commitment. Piero and Lucille marry in the hospital chapel and devote themselves completely to the development of the Lacor Hospital.
- The School for Registered Nurses opens. Between 1974 and 1976, three health centres open in the area surrounding Lacor.
- The Lacor Support Group is founded. Piero Corti’s nephew, Mario Vismara, is among the founders. Later, Mario becomes the President of this group of volunteers committed to fundraising and shipping the goods necessary for the hospital’s operation. Outside support was especially essential from the 1970s through to the 1990s with the economic collapse of the country.
- Lacor Hospital obtains approval as a training site where newly graduated Ugandan doctors can do their internships. The Hospital’s facilities also expand in the 1980s with the opening of 3 new operating rooms, a dental room, a pathology lab, and endoscopy and physiotherapy facilities.
- Piero and Lucille Corti receive the Sasakawa Health Prize from the World Health Organization. Many other awards are granted over the years to recognize the couple’s very important contributions, including the Order of Canada, the Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec for Lucille, and Italy’s Medaglia d’argento al Merito Civile italiana [tr. Silver Civilian Medal of Merit] for Piero.
- Piero and Lucille Corti establish the Fondazione Corti, with the objective of helping the hospital become sustainable through the search for funds, goods, services and skills.
- During the civil war, the Lacor hospital shelters up to 10,000 “night commuters” every night. These are women and especially children, looking for a safe place to spend the night, protected from rebel attacks. According to UNICEF, over 30,000 children were abducted in northern Uganda and forced to become “child soldiers.”
- A terrible Ebola epidemic breaks out. The Lacor Hospital is in the front line in the attempt to contain the epidemic. Dr. Matthew Lukwiya, Health Director, is the first to understand what they were dealing with, subsequently initiating and directing the struggle to contain the spread of the disease. He would die from the virus, as would 12 other members of the Hospital staff after having treated so many sick.
- Dominique Corti, Piero and Lucille’s only child, becomes Legal Representative and President of the Foundation. Mario Vismara works with her as Vice President and Founding Member in addition to acting as President of the Support Group. That same year, Dominique Corti is appointed to the Board of Directors of the Lacor Hospital.
- Dr. Bruno Corrado, who led the Lacor Hospital after Piero Corti, hands over leadership of the Hospital to his Ugandan colleagues who have worked in the Hospital for over twenty years. They are: Dr. Opira Cyprian, Managing Director, Dr. Odong Emintone, Health Director, and Dr. Ogwang Martin, Director of Institutional Affairs.
50 years of Lacor Hospital