Not to be ministered unto but to minister


Do the rural poor - out there - matter to us?

CMC runs extensive community based health services around Vellore, resourced by the secondary level hospitals, CHAD and RUHSA, which have led to major improvements in health indicators in their focus areas. In addition, the Low Cost Effective Care Unit (LCECU), College of Nursing Community Health (CONCH) services and smaller outreach clinics provide localised care to people living in the urban slum areas of Vellore. 

The first steps

CMC’s founder, Dr Ida Scudder, within two years of starting a one-bed dispensary, had single-handedly treated 12,000 patients. But she felt frustrated: many patients still remained outside the ambit of medical services.

So, in 1906, she and her small team began setting up roadside clinics, taking the services to villages and hamlets outside Vellore, first in bullock-carts loaded with medicines, and later in motorised vehicles. The 'clinics' were usually held in the shades of trees and when news spread of their regular occurrence, the sick began to arrive early and wait for 'Doctor Amma' (amma, literally mother, is also used as a term of respect for women) and her team of healers.

That was the beginning of CMC’s outreach. The work of caring for the poor and marginalised who have fallen through the cracks has since become a part of the institutional ethos.
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Watch an early film showing Indian villages and the training of CMC's medical students for service in rural India.

Outreach work carried out by various departments

Outreach work by the College of Nursing: 
CMC’s College of Nursing maintains an important and highly effective Community Health program referred to as CONCH that was established in 1987 and is a vibrant primary health care program managed by nurses. Home visits form the basis of this outreach program, focusing on a population of almost 65,000 living in 22 villages and an additional 23,000 persons living on the urban periphery of Vellore.

ast updated: 29/08/'19)