Mar Thoma Hospital Guidance and Counselling Centre is celebrating its silver jubilee
It was a priest's compassion and concern for the ill and the poor that led to the opening of Mar Thoma Hospital Guidance and Counselling Centre in a rented building at Kumarapuram, near Medical College. "The sight of people sleeping on newspapers and sheets in the open touched the heart of Chrysostam Thirumeni who was then the Diocesan Bishop. Enquiries revealed that many of them had relatives in the hospital. Coming from distant places in Kerala, they were strangers to the city. Financially and physically they were ill-equipped to cope with the situation. Even food was a problem was some," says George Thomas, secretary of the centre.
The centre was begun in 1982. Generous donations and a group of tireless volunteers worked to make it a haven for needy patients. From a rented building the centre moved into its own building. The three-storey complex has facilities to accommodate 140 patients. Today, the centre, which is celebrating its silver jubilee on October 29, offers a wide range of services to patients and their relatives, including accommodation, food and guidance to help patients reach the right doctors and hospitals. A small amount is charged from patients who can afford to pay while financial help and free medical aid are given to indigent patients."There are patients undergoing treatment at Regional Cancer Centre and Sri Chitra Medical Centre. Some of them feel lost in the hospital. We send a person with them to help them with the registration, hospitalisation and so on. Similarly doctors send indigent patients with a chit requesting us to help them out and we do our best to help them," says Thomas.To ensure the mental well being of the patients and the relatives, the centre has a permanent counselling centre too on the same premises."Some patients need help to come to terms with their ailment and its after effects. Their relatives also come to me for solace and help to cope with stress," says Father Boby Philip who is the counsellor of the centre. In addition to counselling residents of the centre, the centre counsels couples, students and teenagers.However, the demand for facilities offered by the centre is more than what the centre can meet now. The office-bearers, led by the president of the centre Dr. Abraham Mar Paulose, are banking on volunteers to enlarge the infrastructure of the centre.S.N.