Presidents Report – AGM 2015 – Dr. Bella George

Over the last 12/12, it has been a privilege for me to work with the executive of the Australian Board of the Vellore Christian Medical College?Vice-President and Publicity Officer, Stephen Aseervatham, Secretary Liz Guiver and Treasurer, Richard Caitens. The support each one has offered has been tremendous and I am most grateful for it.


This year, we have had 2 teleconferences, one in March 2015 and the other in June 2015. The teleconferences were initiated by past President, Prof Ian Olver during his term of office and were found to be most worthwhile. Both were well attended and provided an opportunity to discuss issues at a State level and also to keep the States updated on events at CMC.

Council meeting Jan 2015

One of the highlights of the year was my attendance at the Council meeting at Vellore in Jan 2015 as the Australian representative. This was a major event with around 200 delegates, but beautifully organised and for me personally, a thrill to revisit my Alma Mater. Under the chairmanship of Dr MC Mathew, the 2 day meeting progressed well. Director, Dr Sunil Chandy, noted that CMC was a model of health care in India and overseas. He listed the achievements of the Institution, chief of them being that CMC was now No 3 among the best multispecialty hospitals in India(was previously ranked between 5 and 7), had received recognition in the SKOCH awards in 9 areas for best practice and had recently been invited to partake in drafting the National Health Policy.

Updates were also given with regard to the outlying campus in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, where major building of in-patient facilities was progressing. We were also shown the architect?s plans for the Kannigapuram campus , about 11km from Vellore. One of the main purposes of developing this campus was to take over about 700 beds from the main hospital in Vellore town and thus reduce the existing congestion there.

While in Vellore I had the opportunity to meet representatives from FOV UK, USA, Germany and Sweden and it was most interesting to learn of the different projects at Vellore that they were involved with. It is likely that in future there will be more collaboration between the international FOV.

I was also able to visit the Chittoor campus, the Low Cost Effective Care Unit , which is now situated in Vellore town, and CHAD. The latter visit informed me of the 5 yr project in Jawadhi Hills, an area 60km away from Vellore, inhabited by tribal people, who had very little access to medical help. CHAD ran daily clinics there and were in need of an ultrasound scanner , which I am pleased to say the Australian Board has since been able to fund.

New promotional DVD??Our stories, Our CMC?

This series of short clips, made by Tim Nicholls of Currawong Productions, was released in June 2015. Tim has maintained the high standard of his earlier DVD ?Home of a Healing God? and has captured on film the spirit of CMC. We in Australia have a special interest in this as it was supported by funds from here.

State FOV groups

The State groups have all worked well over the last 12/12, although the Tasmanian group has got older and are looking for young blood. Our hopes of a NT FOV group were felled with the unexpected sad passing of Devi Conde in Jan 2015. The WA FOV has also not progressed as hoped, but efforts are being made in that direction and I am hopeful of a positive result.

Visit of the Director

We are very pleased to have the Director, Dr Sunil Chandy, and his wife as official guests of the Australian Board at our annual meeting this year. He has just visited NZ, the first time a CMC Director has visited that country and we look forward to hearing the latest from CMC.

I wish to thank the Victorian FOV for hosting this meeting and the State FOV representatives for their contributions. I look forward to continuing as President into the second year of my term.

Bella George,  August 2015

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