Christian Hospital, Mungeli & Rambo Memorial English Medium High School
Once again it is time to recollect what has happened in Mungeli this past year. The hospital turned 112 years old as the school is now 14 years old. Both institutions have had a tremendous amount of change and slowly we seem to be being led to do great things in this backward region of Chhattisgargh.
Hospital Services and Patient Care:
The hospital has been progressing ahead even though I have been out of the country for over four months. During my absence the staff has done well and with the help of Dr. Samuel and Dr. Sudeep, my father (Dr. V.K. Henry) along with the grateful help of two doctors from Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana the work here continued on.
Out Patient Services: We now have seen a total of 24,639 patients this past year. This is a real increase from the past year. The numbers keep soaring even though the staff strength remains about the same.
If we pause to think a bit, we in India have one sixth of the total population of this planet.
Last year we have seen patients from 8 different states around the country and from every district in the state of Chhattisgargh.
It is also interesting to note that we took care of about 12,000 patients who were farmers. The rest were of many other professions.
Mostly it is astounding that a great number of our patients are migrant laborers, who are forced to live all year in the slums and work in the cities for a want of jobs. It is during the rainy season that they come home and become laborers, a majority of them working for the land lord of the village with some fortunate ones who may have a small piece of land to farm on.
It is at this time that many succumb to the common diseases of Tuberculosis, Aids and Malnutrition which all go hand in hand with poverty, lack of sanitation and overcrowding.
Inpatient Services: The total number of admissions was about 2843. This is just about the same number as last year. The numbers have been pretty steady as the bed occupancy has been around 92% and the average hospital stay of patients is around 8 days.
We are very aware of the hospital days being more than western countries. Even though I do a laparoscopic procedure, the patient wants to stay till sutures are removed. They come with such difficulty from the village that they do not want to leave without everything being taken care off.
Deliveries: We delivered 542 babies last year. This is about the same as the year before. The number of cesarean sections, normal deliveries and forceps deliveries are all about the same.
It is good to know that the number of craniotomies has reduced. We still continue to have a very difficult situation trying to get mothers to deliver in the hospital. They still come right at the last minute after a good trial at home and then traveling on bumpy roads to reach the hospital.
The present building project is completing a new delivery room which will have a provision for four delivery tables and be air conditioned.
Surgical Services: This hospital has now become famous for its surgical work. It was unfortunate that I had to be out and so the numbers did fall a bit, but still it is clearly seen that we do our fair share of surgical work.
The main OR was reconstructed and that completes the whole of the OR complex being renovated, including the Central Sterile department. We now have three fully equipped operating rooms with the best instruments in laparoscopic and minimally invasive urological work. We also have the C-arm which helps me do the latest kind of work in fixing fractures.
For a small mission hospital, we can easily feel secure that we are doing our best for our patients as far as technology is concerned.
Intensive Care Unit: We now have an ICU which is well equipped with good monitors, and now three ventilators. We are able to treat patients who are very sick and this is the common situation that we have to deal with.
This ICU is hardly ever empty. It is the resting ground for all those who have been treated in the vicinity by local doctors and quacks. It is a sad situation to see a continuous flow of sick patients, but as we cannot refuse any one treatment, it is important that we do our best for every patient as long as they still have life in them.
Laboratory Services: The Lab services have continued to do well as we have continued to upgrade the lab. We are now putting all out efforts in the blood bank and the physical structure is almost completed and now I will have to get all the equipment and then move ahead for the hardest part and that is to go through all the red tape to get permission.
Meanwhile, I have sent both of my technicians for their required training and we should be set to move this year.
X-rays and ECG: The x-ray and ECG department has been doing well. We got another ECG machine which is much more superior to the other two that I have. One of these three is there in the ICU to be used at any time.
The 100MA portable and the 300MA machines have given us good service.
The numbers of x-rays are a little less and that is because we do not have any barium meals as the Gastro-video scope is now in full us. This is a very special machine which has changed the management of upper GI problems. Along with the regular gastro-esophageal scopies, we also inject esophageal varices and pull out foreign bodies.
Dental Services: The dental department has grown this year as we have been able to send a person to CMC Ludhiana and be trained as a dental assistant and one who can do the scaling and cleaning of teeth.
Physically too, the department has had a new look as it has been renovated and the second dental unit has been installed.
Religious Life at Mungeli: The staff is active in getting together each morning for prayers at 7:30a.m. and that is when work begins for all of us at the hospital and school.
We have had a great time this year with the Christmas celebrations and it has been good through out the year being visited by the Bible Society and guests from all over the world who come and visit the staff at this time.
The morning chapel is taken by our own staff except twice a week when Rev. Sona, our Principal of the school takes chapel on Wednesdays and Rev. Solomon our local pastor takes chapel on Saturdays.
Food and Relative Conveniences: One of our very special parts of the hospital is trying to provide services to the relatives of patients. We clearly understand that in the village scenario, the relatives and family of the patient play a very important role. Not only do they want to stay with the patient, but they also want to cook and help take care as well.
For this reason, we have a special place for relatives to keep their belongings and stay at night. We also have the 8 cent meal of rice and lentil which is cooked. This also is a place where out-patients who come to show for the day can also get some for food.
There is also a place where food can be cooked by the relatives using cooking gas or firewood which they are most accustomed to using.
We were happy to have the General Manager of the Hindustan Petroleum (Gas Company), visit the hospital and the school. They have been supporters of our work here and now would like to take up another project.
The hospital has been fully self sufficient and has also been able to support the school as well as continue with the construction work in renovating the hospital.
This year as in the past, we have been able to give about $3,000 USD as concessions for poor patients. It is by far a hard thing to imagine for such a small establishment. This amount is 10% of our total earnings and is an ideal place for us to be at.
One of our mission hospitals (Christian Hospital, Diptipur) was suddenly in crisis and to bail them out we immediately cleared their bills for $6,000 USD. God has blessed us abundantly and we need to see that we are able to help each other out.
Overseas giving was about 3% of our total earnings as we got $12,500 USD this year through our main donor, Global Ministries. With this, we were able to get two ICU monitors, one ICU ventilator and one ECG machine.
With new acquisitions for the hospital with our own funding: We have been able to get:
- Machinery to clean floors and toilets in the hospital (high pressure machines)
- 6 computers
- Complete set of furniture of 6 doctor’s homes (two bedroom/Dining and Living room sets)
- Furnishings for a waiting room (chairs, aquariums, large TV with microphone and sound systems)
- Solar water heaters (1000 liters for laundry and ward and 100 liter for autoclaving units)
- New Telephone exchange for 90 phone connections and 4 trunk with auto answer and message
- Mobile phone sets for all regular staff (property of the hospital with call incoming free)
- Four new air conditioners and one large desert cooler and a water cooler for nurse’s hostel.
- 125 KVA soundless generators with automatic on and off.
- Scorpio jeep to replace the old one.
- Three ICU monitors.
- Hospital Management System Software (controls about 29 computers all around the hospital)
- 40 seater school bus for the English Medium School.
Infrastructure and Building Development:
As the hospital grows, we have had to rebuild the old buildings and have spent about $4,000 USD this year in doing so.
The architect help for this is through a classmate of mine from school, Mr. John Jacob as we were sorry to loose Mr. S.B. Bannerjee who had been suffering from carcinoma lung for the past one and a half years.
John has been gracious in coming over and seeing the campus and giving us ideas for the building of the blood bank, conference room and library, the new delivery room, recovery room and lower ward. We are also going to begin to re-do the guest house and add two more floors to this structure making six double rooms on each floor. This will give me room to keep more staff that are single. Most of these are nurses, lab technicians, and also teachers for the school.
Plans for the Future:
The way in which Mungeli is growing I feel that we need to move towards educational programs which can bring about young health professionals from this area.
This year we can proudly say that we have been able to sponsor a total of 7 young people in nursing training and also have been able to help our own doctor complete her studies so that she can once again join us in Mungeli. All this has been done at a total cost of $13,600 USD.
The next building that I see coming up is a new nurse’s hostel building. This will bring us to the point where we can with the right leadership and youth begin an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife course. These nurses are from simple families and are more apt to work in the community and help establish a community health project.
Once we work with that, we can look further to try and begin other CMAI courses like lab technician and x-ray technician courses.
Of course in this year, we will complete the new delivery room and recovery room. I also hope to get the new blood bank going along with the conference room and library.
The other things that we plan to do in the pipe line for the hospital is:
- Furnish our new recovery room with six new monitors
- Furnish the blood bank with all the equipment and refrigerators, air conditioners and so forth
- Acquire a new ambulance for the hospital
- A second anesthesia ventilator for the OR
- Centralize the air-conditioning of the ICU, Recovery and Delivery room with an 8.5 ton AC with ducts
- Centralize our suction with two units, one for the wards and the second for the operating rooms
The staff have really been great as we have had to deal with many new changes and my being away for a long period in the States.
Dr. Samuel and Sudeep have been the main two who have handled the load of work here at the hospital.
We now have a physiotherapist from CMC Vellore who has joined the staff. The department is new and it has had an exciting beginning. Niyatee Lal has been doing a great job as people get to know that her services are available.
We are also very happy to have back with us Dr. Sonal Lal who completed her studies in General Surgery and is back on staff. She will be a great asset and we have really waited for her to come back.
We are going to be sorry as we will miss Dr. Jean Jose who has been our Dentist for the past two years. She has been a real asset and had built up the department very well. Dr. Skaria is now joining from CMC Ludhiana and we are eagerly waiting for him to join.
Rambo Memorial English Medium School:
The school began in 1994 and has a staff of 18 and 280 students. They study from Nursery to grade 10. This year we would like to start Grade 11.
I thank Rev. Sona for being the advisor for the school in the absence of a Principal and he has done a great job. As we do look around for help in the growth of the school, it has been an exciting part of this community.
We already had one bus which brings children from about 20 kms (13 miles). This was a 25 seater bus and now we have bought a second bus which is 40 seater and we will be extending out services to more village routes.
Our aim is that we need to reach out to the village children and educate them. There are many out there who would like the experience, but just cannot reach here.
My hope is now to work with education and that is why I would like to go into constructing a New Rambo English Medium High School building. It will take a little time, but it is something that has to be done if there is to be change in this region.
Guests, Affiliations, Relationships:
As usual, we are happy to have our Danish Medical Students who stay with us for a period of three months each and become a part of our community. Last year we had 8 students who came throughout the year.
We were very privileged to have Loy Wiley and Patricia Smith come over. They got here just about a week after we ourselves arrived from the States and immediately became a part of the work here. Loy is a member of the Avon Lake UCC church which is our home church. Both Loy and Pat along with the help of many friends are working hard to try and see if they can get a container of equipment out to us. I know with the determination they have, this will surely happen.
We also had my cousin Cheryl Miller come over and now she is going to be back at the end of this month along with three friends who will be busy painting murals around the hospital.
In January, we also enjoyed having Ann Hartridge here in Mungeli. She is a nursing student in Piedmont College out of Atlanta and I had met and spoken to her class there in at the college. Ann really enjoyed her trip here and the fun she has had telling of her experiences has now motivated many to come and experience life here in Mungeli.
We then had a surprise visit from the Whitcomb family as Bill and Ann were here for a short visit. They have been a part of the work here in Chhattisgargh all their lives as they grew up here and Bill gave many years of faithful service to the church in this region.
The Keonig family too is very well known in the history books of the work in this region and so we had Bob who is 82 now, come over and see where his family contributed to the work of the church in this region.
Another family that is remembered here from the old days is the Essebagger family. We were privileged to have Ted and his wife Maja come and visit us for a few days.
Lastly, we had a family of nine come and visit us from the Minni Gadt clan. Sister Minne Gadt was a nurse who worked in this region for many years. She was instrumental in beginning the nursing training school in Tilda. This family was here to see where their aunt spent her many years of faithful service and also push in a small tiger safari along the side. They realized soon that the tigers still do exist.
We have a long list of people for next year who are going to share in the work that we do here in Mungeli. There is really no better way in getting to know what goes on out here till you come over and get your hands dirty. Furthermore, the staff always looks forward to seeing visitors and interacting with people of other countries.
We still continue to be affiliated to the Christian Medical Colleges and Hospitals in Vellore and Ludhiana as I attend their board meetings.
I also continue to be a part of the board at Kodaikanal International School where my daughter Ankita studies and will be joined by the twins, Abhishek and Abhijeet. So we do have an empty nest here and wait to have friends from all over coming to meet us.
It has been a difficult time in our personal lives as I had to be in the States for about five months as I took care of my brother-in-law who we lost tragically by pancreatic cancer. We were very dear friends and it was really a very difficult time for me having to take care of him and seeing him deteriorate and still have faith in me that he will get well.
A few months later my mother-in-law became critical and we lost her as well. She had been in a wheel chair and the loss has really made it hard for my father-in-law.
My wife and I would really like to thank so many friends and especially my board of Global Ministries who have stood by us as a family and been understanding as we have gone through troubled times.
Even in Mungeli, there are times in which we feel so distant and isolated, but it is the support of these unseen clouds of witnesses that keep us going and give us a clear vision forward.
Most of all, it is the increasing interest that people have from all over the world as they see the activity and the hustle and bustle that goes around here. Institutions like these are rare to find as we look into a world where people can afford to give little as economies go crashing and recession seems to be around the corner.
In the midst of all this turmoil, there still is a little light here in Mungeli which is shining bright and fighting its way through the current.
Yes, God has led us through this year from strength to strength and I know with the prayers and blessings of many of you we will together continue the work that God has bestowed upon us.
Anil works with the Synodical Board of Health Services of the Church of North India. He serves as Acting Director at Christian Hospital, Mungeli along with his wife as Senior Medical Officer.