DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A state-of-the-art $3.5-million charity hospital for physically disabled children, which is being funded in part by Philippine-born American football superstar Tim Tebow, is now near completion and is expected to operate before the year ends.
The 17-bed capacity Tebow Cure Hospital in Barangay (village) Lanang here is now 97 percent complete, according to Leron Lehman, the hospital’s executive director.
Lehman said workers have been rushing to put finishing touches on the facility such as the installation of tiles and pipes, even as hospital officials have been completing the requirements for final licensing from the Department of Health (DoH).
He told reporters here on Wednesday that the recruitment of about 45 to 50 staff, including expatriates that would handle surgical jobs, has been ongoing.
The hospital was designed to have a 30-bed capacity but initially, only 17 beds would be commissioned.
Lehman said the facility would accept children with such conditions as clubfoot, bowed legs, cleft lip/palate, untreated burns, or hydrocephalus and other physical birth defects.
“We are six or seven months away to the opening,” he said.
The project, which features a six-story building, started in June 2012 and is 70 percent funded by Tebow’s foundation.
The former New York Jets quarterback, who also occasionally plays for the Greater Boston-based New England Patriots, has decided to build the hospital here, in partnership with the Pennsylvania-based Cure International.
“There are a lot of disabled children here in Mindanao and there are a bunch of reasons why their families do not seek medical help…they are poor and cannot afford surgery or transportation. But, you know healing changes everything,” he said.
Tebow is the son of an American missionary-couple, which spent years in the Philippines to spread the Gospel. He was in fact born in Makati.
The hospital, Cure’s first in Southeast Asia, will have an operating suite and sterilization facilities; private clinics and outpatient area including laboratory, radiology and physical therapy, charity beds and private or semi-private rooms, Timmy’s playroom, charity clinic, Spiritual ministry and training activities, according to Lehman.
While the hospital would be 100 percent charity, Lehman said the hospital would provide good opportunities for private practice later.
“But we do not intend for low cost private practice provider. Private practice should not overshadow our charity work,” he said, noting that one of the 24 orthopedic surgeons in Davao City with a 30-year practice has already offered ‘charity time’ in the hospital.
Lehman said Tim Tebow and Cure International have chosen Davao as location for this hospital because needed drugs and other supplies could be easily secured; the city has trained staff; and they could fulfill their mission here despite some challenges.
Lehman also highlighted the commitment of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in terms of facilitating the needs of the project.
The hospital’s annual budget could reach to half million dollars, said Lehman