Council Meeting of the CMC Vellore Association January 2017

Council Meeting of the
Christian Medical College Vellore Association
January 2017

It was my privilege to attend the Council meeting on Jan 19th and 20th 2017 as the Australian FOV representative. As always, it was a very positive experience returning to my Alma Mater, enjoying the beautiful grounds of the College campus, seeing familiar faces again and making new contacts.

Meeting of the FOV Groups.

Prior to the council meeting, on Jan 17th, Hugh Skeil had organised a meeting of the international FOV representatives with the Director, relevant members of the Administration and faculty of the Community Health Department of CMC. FOVs from UK, Sweden, USA and Australia were represented and each of us made a presentation about ourselves and the work that we supported in CMCH. There was also an in- absentia presentation from Germany. The evening was a wonderful opportunity for net-working, and to ensure that the various FOV groups did not overlap in their support of various projects at CMC.

The Council meeting

The meeting was chaired by Dr M C Mathew.

Demonetisation on Nov 9th, 2016 and the effects of this was on everyone’s lips. People had no money and cheques were bouncing. Mission hospitals saw a drop in patient numbers ranging from 35-50%.

Director of CMC, Dr Sunil Chandy, spoke about the CMC experience–At CMC a unit was set up to deal with patient?s queries, difficulties and anxieties and the Chaplaincy department was kept busy. Stalls offering free coffee, tea, water and counselling were set up. Advance payment that patients had to make was waived and the Pharmacy was allowed to accept demonetised notes. Banks were very helpful in giving the Hospital money. Use of the “CHRIS card” (Debit card issued by the Finance Department of CMC for patients to use for the payment of Bills) increased from 5%- 48%. There was a 12% decrease in patient numbers and a loss of income of 30 crores. The Administration hoped to cope with this by decreasing refurbishment and by redeployment. Several lessons were learnt through this very difficult period, but it was felt that they had experienced God’s grace in abundance.

Dr Anna Pulimood, Principal, spoke about the College. They have up to date had 5 batches of 100 students. New on the curriculum have been the village orientation programme and 3 sessions in mission hospitals. Selection of students last year was a 5-stage process:
1. NEET Exam
2. Aptitude test
3. Preliminary selection
4. interview
5. Final selection.

17,938 qualified on the NEET exam. Following the aptitude test 7456 came through, and of these 262 were called for the interview. 185 attended and 100 were selected!!! They expect that NEET may be extended to PG selection and higher specialties.

Mission hospitals — a special department with increased office space and manpower has been set up to help the mission hospitals. Microbiology lab refresher courses (of 6 weeks? duration) were being held for lab technicians. Visits were being made by doctors from CMCH to mission hospitals and vice versa. An advisory committee had been set up and also a mission outreach fund. There was an area of need among the tribal people of Yercaud and Kotagiri Hills. A mission department webpage was up and running and was being constantly updated.

Chittoor Campus

I had the opportunity to visit Chittoor and it was pleasing to see the progress over the last 2 yrs. There was an obvious increase in the OPD–OP in Gen Med, surgery and gynae saw 2000 pts in Jan 17 (4576 in Nov 16). Dental, ENT and Ophthalmology OP clinics were also being run. IP facilities started in April 2016 with medical emergencies and day care facilities. Overnight in- patient facilities commenced in June 2016 with 1000 IP to date. 2 theatres were operational and had done 450 surgeries. The lab was fully functional, as was the Pharmacy. Blood bank had received approval and was waiting to be installed, and once that was established more complex surgery could be undertaken. A physiotherapy department was in existence. Recruitment of nurses was slow, as it was apparently not possible for nurses to register in 2 states simultaneously. This has delayed the development of obstetrics in this hospital.

A well-baby clinic was to start at the end of Jan 2017 and haemodialysis in 4 to 6 months? time (a haemodialysis machine had been given by Fairfax). An orthotics department was also planned for the near future.
Immediate needs are doctors? housing and Nurses? hostel.
Long term plans are for:
1. Distance education
2. Mission training
3. Nursing College
4. Dental College.
In order to attract staff for Chittoor, following measures have been taken:
1. sponsorship for Chittoor started 2 years ago.
2. cadres for staff there have been increased
3. employment of retired staff from CMC was being encouraged- general surgeons, anaesthesiologists, and community health physicians etc. Incidentally, Apollo Hospital was setting up a medical college 20 km away from Chittoor Hosp.

Kannigapurum Campus

in August 2016 plans were finally approved by the Government after 18 months of waiting. In September 2016 builders were shortlisted. In October 2016, the project received special council ratification. In November 2016 Shapoorji R. was selected as the builder.
Since then, steel prices have dropped and water has been found on site; all good signs for extending God’s Kingdom into the area.

On Friday Jan 20th, after the close of Council, we were transported to Kannigapurum for the brick-laying ceremony. The Post-mistress of the area had been invited as the chief guest and it was hoped that a commemorative stamp would be released in the future. We all took part in laying a brick – retired faculty, current faculty, council members and FOV representatives. 100 years old Sister Anna, one of the early nursing superintendents of CMCH was possibly the most senior member present! The younger members left hand-prints in wet cement and appeared to enjoy the process immensely. It was a truly momentous occasion and a fitting finale to the 2017 January Council meeting.

Dr Bella George
Australian Board of Vellore Christian Medical College

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