The Robert Burns International Foundation raises charity funds throughout the year, though it comes into strongest focus around the Burns Supper. But given what it commits to do, raising the money is as nothing if it is not spent.
Professor Dr György Fekete, the former Director of the II Paediatric Department of Semmelweis University in Budapest, acts as medical adviser to the RBIF, helping sift through the many applications for support to find and select the most appropriate and deserving projects.
The Hungarian health care system has been underfunded for years, since long before the global economic crisis began to tighten purse strings. As a result, donations from foundations, private sponsors and organisations are often the only ways open to hospitals in need of new equipment. The only alternatives are official Hungarian or EU research projects and grants, but the process of accessing the money is complex and time consuming. “Donations are easier and faster sources, because they do not require such a long administrative and bureaucratic processes as the applications for grants,” the Professor says.
“Since all the instruments serve basic, every-day medical needs, mostly important in the emergency and intensive-care treatment of ill children, these gifts have helped to save lives in many cases,” Fekete insists.
“Hungarian doctors and patients know and are very thankful for all of these donations, being aware of the difference to their work, on the one hand, and their improved chances for being healthy again on the other. In short, all the hospitals that have been supported over the years are now able to offer a higher level of medical care than before the donation, and this fact is very crucial for the benefit for our young patients!”
Thank you: Professor Dr György Fekete speaking at the 2011
Budapest Burns Supper. Photo courtesy of Tamás Rajna,
The RBIF applies strict criteria before it agrees to pay out any monies. Hospital units must prove their need for the equipment and give guarantees the money will be used solely for the purposes outlined.
By Robin Marshall