Service In Love Through The Years
By Sister Mary Florence del Mundo SSpS
A tiny seed planted as a dispensary in a suburb of Mumbai (Bombay), India, in 1966, became Holy Spirit Hospital in 1967 with 65 beds. It was then popularly known as ‘The Jungle Hospital’ since it was surrounded by heavy jungle. Today that tiny seed has grown and spread its branches, standing proudly as a modern, well-organized and full-fledged 280-bed general hospital, catering to the comprehensive health care of around two million people.
We are indebted to our pioneer Sisters, especially Sr Carmel Ann and Sr Willibrord and others who through their hard work and generous spirit helped the hospital become what it is today, offering a wide variety of services, ranging from basic medicine and general surgery to specialties such as neurosurgery, plastic surgery, pediatric surgery, urology and nephrology, among others.
Holy Spirit Hospital regularly upgrades its facilities that now include a modern 26-bed intensive care unit of international standard, realizing one of the felt needs of the people around. Our kidney unit reaches out to many with chronic renal failure, having on average 600 dialyses per month. We collaborate with various trust funds that enable us to serve poor patients.
Holy Spirit Hospital has four outreach clinics or community health centers in the slums near the hospital. We have a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and paramedics who work daily in these centers providing both curative and preventive care. The hospital serves as a referral center for the clinics and tries to make health care available at an affordable cost to the poor who live in the area. Ten percent of our patients are slum dwellers who get free treatment; 70 percent belong to the low-income sector and receive concessions. Only 20 percent are fully-paying patients. Our reach-out includes prenatal care, family visits, health education in schools and for women. We also have AIDS awareness programs. A member of parliament gave us a mobile hospital, a great boost to us.
The hospital began an institute for nursing education in 1997, where young women are trained with our organization ethos, to provide person-oriented quality care for patients. However, India’s laws require that we upgrade the institute into a college of nursing within a few years.
All medical, paramedical, and supportive services are well integrated to provide a holistic approach to healing. Our pastoral care department provides spiritual assistance and counseling, helping patients and families to cope with the trauma of illness. We have 100 medical and 500 non-medical staff. In 2002, for example, they took care of around 11,000 inpatients and nearly 98,000 outpatients.
What makes Holy Spirit Hospital unique is its attitude to its patients. It is deeply committed to its motto, ‘Service in Love.’ We share the healing love of God with all without any distinction of caste, creed, religion or economic status. Right from its inception in 1967, the Sisters have worked tirelessly with one goal in mind: to bring quality health care within reach of the ordinary person.
It is highly commendable that in Mumbai, a city of 12 million and seen by many as the business capital of India, where quality healthcare is only available at a hefty price, our hospital offers state-of-the-art and up-to-date facilities at unbelievably subsidized rates. The hospital is ever grateful to its main donors from India and abroad for their generous contributions. They have played a vital role in enabling the hospital to maintain its commitment to the common tao.
Where we're called
Holy Spirit Hospital has come a long way. It gives quite a sense of satisfaction to look back on its achievements over the years. Looking ahead, we have many concerns. It is becoming increasingly difficult to provide quality health care at an affordable price. Since professional competence, using the latest medical technology, has become of prime importance, the challenge is to include the poor among its beneficiaries. Yet we are called to do this. Trusting in Divine Providence, we move forward with courage and determination, imploring God’s blessings in our efforts to help suffering humanity!
You may write to: Sr Mary Florence del Mundo SSpS, Convent of the Holy Spirit SOS P.O. Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560076, INDIA