Catholic health workers look for ways to reposition

Story UCAN– A team of some 1,000 nun-doctors; 25,000 nun-nurses and over 10,000 nun-paramedical professionals and with some 5,000 social worker nuns are dedicated for the medical service mission of India.

The Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) seeks ways to re-position its member institutions, especially those in the villages, to help them work efficiently in the changing health care scenario in the country. 

Some 800 health care professionals from across the country will discuss issues connected with such re-positioning during the annual meeting of the association scheduled for September 9-12, said an official release.

Health care system, especially rural, in India needs an overhaul and if CHAI becomes a catalyst of change, "the nation is bound to sit up and take notice," its director general Father Tomi Thomas said. 

Laxma Reddy, Health and Medical Minister of Telangana State and Malla Reddy, Member of Parliament from Malkajgiri Constituency will be guests of honor at the annual general body meeting of the association.

CHAI enjoys a pan Indian membership base of over 3,500 Catholic health care institutions, which includes 2,304 health centers and some 621 small to medium hospitals, which together has over 50,000 beds.

Nearly 85 percent of these facilities are located in the "medically underserved areas" and they provide medical care to some 21 million people every year, Father Thomas said.

A team of some 1,000 nun-doctors; 25,000 nun-nurses and over 10,000 nun-paramedical professionals and with some 5,000 social worker nuns are dedicated for the medical service mission of India, he said.

Besides, the network of Catholic medical care institutions together care for some 7,000 people living with HIV, including 2,000 children under institutional care. They also provide rehabilitation support for over 10,000 differently-abled children and young people.

The association in 2013 launched a Strategic Planning Process to give direction as well as structurally strengthen the member institutions in order to help them to reposition themselves to work effectively in future. 

"There is a need to look into the health ministry seriously. It can mean that we may have to change the mode of functioning adopted until now," said Father Thomas.

Australian nun and medical doctor Mary Glowrey, while working at St Joseph's Hospital in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, founded CHAI in 1943. CHAI is one of the world’s largest not-for-profit healthcare networks.

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