Australian Board News Letter – 2020

Dear Friends,

The Board has been deliberating for quite some time about the desirability of communicating with the wider community of the Friends of Vellore who have been supporting the institution by their kind and generous donations and participation in various fund-raising activities through their respective state branches. We felt that we have an obligation to keep you informed with news about us and what we have been doing at national level.
We know that your branch keeps you up to date about their activities via their newsletters, but you may not be aware of the bigger picture and about the national organisation.

The past year has been quite busy and, as the Australian FOV, we have achieved quite a few things. Firstly, I wish to thank every one of the Directors of the Board and members of the Board for all their contribution in making it a very productive year.

Transfer of Funds to CMC
We do an annual transfer to the Finance department at CMC and allocate all the designated donations we have received from it.
For the year 2018/19 we transferred A$250,000.

Basically, our funds go towards 4 categories:
1. Patient Care ? our number one priority ($55,000)
2. Education ? Scholarships for Nursing and Allied health Students ($24,000)
3. Equipment ? Replacement or for new projects ($60,000)
4. Staff Development ? Overseas fellowships for both Medical and Allied health staff ($18,000).

Apart from the above-mentioned allocations, we also received donations from individuals, (alumni and Friends of Vellore) towards various designated projects. Many clinical departments at CMC have been the beneficiaries of these donations.

Patient CareĀ 
We support this through 3 sources:
1. Endowment Funds ? ($30,000). There are quite a few of these funds which cater for different groups of patients and are managed by various departments. They have been established to provide medical care for disadvantaged patients in urgent need of care. Our contributions go into the corpus of the fund(s) and the yields are used to pay for the medical care.

2. Low Cost-Effective Care Unit ? ($15,000). You have all no doubt heard about this stand-alone facility where basic medical care is provided for local patients who are unable to pay for the normal cost of care at the main hospital.

3. Patient to Patient ? ($10,000). Each one of you could support the cost of hospitalisation for an individual patient who is unable to meet the cost of his treatment. A contribution of A$200 is supplemented by A$800 by the institution and this means that up to A$1000 worth of free medical care is available to an individual patient. You get feedback from the PTP department with details about the patient who benefited from your donation. It is a worthy project to consider supporting. Please contact your state branch to find out more about it.

We also want to give a short explanation about the three items of equipment that we contributed to. Apart from the fact that they were very much needed by the respective departments, it was also a unique situation in that we collaborated with the other international FOVs in meeting the cost. In the past, mostly each FOV did their own thing.
1. Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme ($18,000). We received a request from the Department of Ophthalmology at CMC to help them with establishing a mobile diagnostic unit which could travel to the peripheral units to carry out the screening. The quoted cost for the vehicle plus the equipment was beyond our funding capabilities. But we joined hands with the UK and USA FOVs to allocate the funds needed.

2. KMF Hospital Kotagiri ? ($21,000). The Mission Department at CMC has been involved in a project helping individual Mission hospitals under certain conditions and help to upgrade them with service, staffing and equipment. One of the hospitals is the Kotagiri Medical Fellowship Hospital. There was an urgent need for a new pathology laboratory, and we joined hands with UK to equip a modern biochemistry lab. Since the above allocation, the South Australian FOV has recently raised A$ 12,600 towards purchasing various other pieces of equipment. Thank you Renjy and the team.

3. Motor Vehicle for the Community Medicine Department (CHAD) ($21,000).
As most of you are aware, the mobile unit plays an important role in most of the outreach activities of the department. The current one is 20 years old and needs replacement. We were able to share with the FOV Sweden the cost of purchasing a replacement bus.

AGM in Melbourne ? August 2019
We had a successful Annual meeting and it was a very fruitful day as we covered many issues and discussed our plans for the future. We were fortunate to be able to organise a video conference with Director of CMC, Dr. J.V. Peter. It was a quite informative power point presentation and he covered all the happenings at CMC. The current office bearers were re-elected for another year.

The Yelagiri Retreat Centre
Most of you will be aware of the funds we have sent over the years towards building a retreat centre to be used by the staff and students. After many years of ?hibernation?, under the initiative of Dr J.V. Peter, the plans have been resurrected and are moving ?slowly but surely? towards fulfilment. We hope it will soon be completed in the near future. It is a very much needed facility for the CMC.

It has been a concern of many that our current constitution which was drafted in January 2003 is quite outdated and badly needs revision. It is the consensus opinion of the Board that we should attend to it in the near future. In the meantime, we have decided to make a few addenda to address some of its obvious ?deficiencies? in order to satisfy the immediate concerns of some and the needs of everyone. My thanks to Prof David Runia, who has been of great help with this project. We will be starting on the redrafting of the constitution in the new year.

The Board wish to acknowledge and thank the CMC alumni in Australia who, apart from those who are involved with their respective state branches of the FOV, have also been very generous with their contribution to Vellore in joining their classmates from all over the world and supporting some very urgent projects in the CMC campus. About $17,000 has been donated towards such projects. They also have been very proactive in helping the staff from CMC when they need medical placements for them allowing them to work while they are in Australia on their sabbatical. This is an invaluable help not only to the individuals but also to the home institution, which benefits from the experience and knowledge that the staff members obtain during their stay in Australia.

Thank you again to each and every one of you. The Friends of Vellore in Australian would not exist but for your kindness and hard work. We thank God for the opportunity he has given to us to participate in the Christian Medical mission at CMC.

Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed New year.

God?s Blessings.
Board of Directors

Dr Stephen Aseervatham ? President
Prof. David Runia ? Vice President
Evelyn Lehmann ? Secretary
Richard Caitens ? Treasurer
Prof. Chellam Kirubakaran ? Publicity Officer

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