CHRISTIAN HOSPITAL, MUNGELI
Christian Hospital Mungeli (CHM) is a not-for-profit organisation established by an American mission in 1896. What was a small dispensary started by Dr. Anna Gordon is now a 120 bed hospital. Today our mission is to provide low cost, modern, health care and education to those marginalized by poverty. To this end we run a 120 bed hospital, a school of nursing, a K-12 English medium school and a community college for high school drop outs. One the most pioneering directors was Dr.Victor Rambo, an eye surgeon, who built the hospital up to 120 beds between 1924-1948. He was the first to start eye camps. He was then called to CMC Vellore by Dr.Ida Scudder to set up he Schell Eye Hospital and then later assisted CMC Ludhiana. His legacy lives on today in the shape of the Rambo Committee Inc, a group of volunteers in the US who help raise funds for the hospital. After the departure of Dr.Sukhnandan around 1965, the hospital went in to decline for about 40 years. It was only in 2003 when Drs.Anil and Teresa Henry resurrected the hospital that it has grown to its current stature.
We work in challenging circumstances in a frontier region which has been neglected and where the population has been marginalised by poverty, lack of education, and lack of health care facilities. Everyday we see the fallout of this neglect in the health condition of our patients. We regularly see mothers in full eclampsia and low birth weight babies (950gms to 2kg) at CHM because most mothers 1) are very young, undernourished, and have not received any antenatal care, 2) deliver at home either unassisted or with traditional unskilled birth attendants, and 3) often run into complications and require skilled emergency obstetric and medical assistance. Due to the large number of unlicensed medical practitioners or 'quacks' operating in the rural area we see end-stage diseases. People seek treatment from quacks who inject them with steroids or painkillers that provide temporary relief but long term damage. Our vision for the future is a society with equitable access to high quality health care and education, the empowerment of women, and improvement of women's health, to lift people from the crushing cycle of poverty and marginalisation.
We have built up not just health care and education but a strong community of staff and students who work together in a low-resource setting to deliver high quality services. It is our community feel that has the biggest impact on visitors and volunteers, who leave here feeling enriched by the relationships they have made.
The Church of North India was formed in 1974, and, thus, all properties are controlled by the United Church of North India Trust Association (UCNITA), a non-profit organization, section 25C company, under the Companies Act of India. Christian Hospital Mungeli came under the care of this not for profit Trust Association in 1973. The Trust Association has designated the Eastern Regional Board of Health Services (ERBHS) as the immediate governing body over all its hospitals in this area, including CHM. In continuous operation since its establishment in 1896, Christian Hospital Mungeli directly reports to and is managed by the ERBHS. Between 1973 and 2003 the hospital went in to decline due to lack of leadership. In 2003 Drs. Anil and Teresa Henry, a general surgeon and anesthetist respectively and both graduates of CMC Vellore returned from the United States to take up this forgotten place. Both Dr. Anil and Teresa have both grown up in rural mission hospitals in Bissamcuttack and Dhamtari respectively where their parents served. They are moved by a unique sense of service. In the last 13 years the hospital has grown in to be a vital rural centre for secondary health care. We are the only hospital that provides surgical, intensive care for adults and newborns, and lab/diagnostic facilities.
CHM is a 120-bed hospital with 10 doctors in the fields of General Surgery, Anesthesia, Physiotherapy, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dialysis, optometry, and dental, with visiting eye surgeons. Together with 42 nurses and xx technicians, they annually deliver over 750 babies, perform 2,500 surgeries in three OTs, run two ICUs, treat 30,000 outpatients, and conduct 65,000 lab tests. Patients travel from over a 120 Km radius as we are the only ones in this rural area to provide: ICU for adults and newborns, surgical, dental, eye and blood bank facilities, spiral CT scanner, 500mA X-ray, ultrasound machines with color Doppler and cardiac echo, and a fully functioning lab.
We believe that technology, innovation and creativity are vital to working in rural low-resource areas: we have the only CT scan, ultrasound, digital x-ray, and the only blood bank for over 120kms. We use solar panels to run hot water in all wards and laundry, our OPD medical records are electronic and we have PACS for efficient storage and retrieval of imaging. In 2016 we inaugurated Chhattisgarh's first rural low cost cancer centre.
We have an internet cloud over the hospital with free wifi for staff. We have a six-second delay generator that kicks in during power cuts. This means that the hospital and residences have continuous power supply throughout the year. For recreation, we have a swimming pool, a gym (weights, treadmill and exercise cycle), table tennis and air hockey. We engage in spirited sports every evening (badminton, cricket and volleyball) and have active worship sessions. Your time at CHM will introduce you to fascinating medicine, everyday innovations, thinking about low cost solutions, the challenges of working in a rural low-resource setting and friendships you'll cherish forever.
Staff children study at the Rambo Memorial English medium school in the campus next door to the hospital and residential area.
Rambo Memorial English Medium School: In 2004 we took over the mangement of the KG-12th grade Rambo school. Staff children study at this school along with 950 students from the neighbouring villages. We have 27 teachers that teach a science and economics curriculum. We also have a robotics lab. We have applied for affliliation to the CBSE syllabus. We have visitors from the US and Europe who volunteer to teach in the school. The school students participate in district and state wide competitions in sports and dance, as well have internal debates, drawing and cultural programs. We took over the school because we realised that the only way to create real change in health and poverty is through education.
This year we inauguarated the USAID ASHA funded mobile clinic. It is a 37 foot mini hospital with pharmacy, lab, dental unit, exam room with ultrasound and a procedure room where we can perform emergency surgical procedures like a c-section. We have adopted four villages and take the clinic to these areas three to four times a week. We provide health care where there is a gap in the public health service. We will soon expand community health services to include the Baby Box program, which is an incentive based program we are about to start to encourage women to get full ante-natal checkups and deliver in the hospital.
This year we inaugurated Chhattigarh's first rural low cost cancer centre. Dr.Sudeep Marcus completed his MD Radiation Oncology at CMC Ludhiana and is the head of the department. Treatments are covered by the 'smart card' government health insurance.
In April 2016 we started dialysis service with two machines. We are glad that we can offer this service to patients in need who would otherwise travel 70 to 110 kms for regular treatment. Treatments are covered on the 'smart card' government health insurance.
We are engaged in several research projects including: a study on prevelance of soil transmitted helminths with Wellcome Trust headed by Dr.Gagandeep Kang at CMC Vellore; oral and cervical cancer screen and treat with RUHSA; a study on snake bites with University Hospitals Geneva; a project with Vitamin Angels to distribute Vitamin A supplements and Albendazole to children; a study on water, sanitation and hygiene with students from Maastricht University; and a study on stunting with students from Denison Univeristy, Ohio.
Low cost and patient centred services: One of the ways we are able to provide low cost services is by aligning with the government's health insurance plan, RSBY (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana) for families living below the poverty line. This ensures a family of 5, Rs.30,000 of free in-patient health care as per government package rates. We are the only hospital in this district able to sustain the program because of our low overheads and not-for-profit working model. Between January and August of 2016 alone we have billed 2550in health care claims amounting to INR 1,89,49,900. We stock only generic drugs in our pharamacy which are cheaper for the patient. We also have a paperless OPD which is fully computerised. We are slowly moving in to a paperless in-patient where doctors and nurses work on tablets and computers to eliminate paper charts. As patients in India come with many family members, in 2005 we built a 'dharamshala' or rest house for relatives. They stay here free of cost. We also provide two free nutritious meals to our in-patients and relatives.
Volunteer program: We have a constant stream of volunteers and visitors from around the world who contribute to our community in different ways. Whether it is teaching English in the Rambo School, taking classes for nurses, or learning about delivering health care and education in a rural low-resource setting, they come to experience our community. We have a partnership with Virginia Tech Carlion School of Medicine and George Washington School of Health Sciences who send fourth year medical students for international rotation. We regularly have students from Butler University Indianapolis, Texas Christian University, and medical studetns from Copenhagen and Aarhaus Univeristy in Denmark. We recently began a partnership with Denison University, Ohio, Maastricht Univeristy, Netherlands and University Hospitals Geneva.
Women's empowerment: The lack of nurses in the rural area began to affect the quality of medicine we wanted to practice. So we decided to 'grow' our own nurses. We sent out our most qualified nurses for higher training and in 2011 opened a nationally accredited course in General Nursing and Midwifery. We graduated our first batch of 19 students in 2014, giving them employment at CHM. Our students come from very humble backgrounds with parents making great sacrifices to give them higher education. We try to remove the financial barriers by offering low fees and an employment guarantee pay back scheme. The entire 3.5 year course costs Rs 136,000 only. All students have opted for the subsidised fees; for those unable to pay for all three years, CHM pays their tuition and then we guarantee them employment where they can pay back this interest free loan. Many young girls tend to be taken out of school and are married off at a young age with child bearing as their only option. The School of Nursing at CHM has given girls and their families affordable higher education opportunity in the rural area. The opportunity for high skills and lucrative employment has given hope to many families in the area and many more are now willing to allow their girls to reap the benefits of an education. Our nurses are also our front line staff in village outreach services where we travel to outlying villages. We are strengthening the rural health workforce and a steady stream of nurse graduates contributes to the sustainable improvement in the health of the community.
Community College: In late 2014, we began the Springer Community College for school dropouts. It is named after Mrs. Eva Springer, a nurse who arrive in Mungeli in 1927 at the age of 51 to start a new life after having lost her husband. She was an entrepreneur at heart and built up most of the hospital's wards and worship areas. It is her resolve and entrepreneurial spirit that we honour through this community college. The college is affiliated to the Indian Centre for Research and Development Community Education in Chennai. Our aim is to provide skill-based learning and life coping education to lead in to gainful employment. Our overall objective is the empowerment of the local people through skills, employment and entrepreneurship. We currently offer four courses for people with a minimum qualification of Grade 8 schooling. These are one year (480hrs, six days a week,four hrs per day) courses in certificate in computers, hardware and networking; certificate in sewing, tailoring (with a view to business development training); certificate in physiotherapy and certificate in nurse's aid programme. Sixteen women are currently enrolled in the nursing assistants program and are being trained to be community health workers in the field.
Our biggest constraints are human resources and infrastructure. The lack of qualified doctors and technicans who are willing to serve in a rural area limits the services we can provide to our community. We would like to have a better partnership with medical and educational centres within India who can help us with trained medical personnel on a regular rotational basis. We need people with hospital management skills to make our working practices more efficient. We also need teachers in our high school and people trained in teaching the English language, maths and sciences.
This year we begin construction on a brand new 30,000 square foot building funded by USAID ASHA for maternal and child health, surgical and intensive care services. This will enable us to provide modern health care to the people who need it the most. We are also building brand new guest houses. Next year we hope to begin cosntruction of a brand new nursing hostel and dining hall, and complete the Rambo School laboratories and recreation area.
We are writing grants to fund a treatment planning system and brachytherapy for our cancer centre.
Visitors in any field (medicine, education, technical, IT, management, allied health, community and public health) are welcome to come at any time of the year. We are always ready to welcome new people in to our community. Please contact Dr.Anil Henry or Gayatri Ganesh to plan your visit.
Christian Hospital Mungeli
Mungeli District 495334
Gayatri Ganesh 9981007259
There are two ways to get to mungeli:
a) Fly to raipur airport. From the airport, the hospital will arrange a vehicle to pick you up. Mungeli is a 110Km drive north of Raipur.
b) Train to Bilaspur. From Bilaspur junction, the hospital will arrange a vehicle to pick you up. Mungeli is a 70Km drive north west of Bilaspur.
Kanha national park – tiger reserve
Aug 13, 2020
It was a bright sunny morning when a nurse and social worker,...
Aug 13, 2020
Three Knocks on my door Those of us familiar with the story of Aunt Ida (Ida Scudder, the...
Aug 13, 2020
A shout-out to India's Generalists By Dr. Pradeep J. Ninan (taken from his...