CHRISTIAN MEDICAL COLLEGE VELLORE
Not to be ministered unto but to minister

OUTREACH

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.

Read more

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.

Reaching out to other States - CMC's Kerala Flood Relief Endeavour in 2019 

The state of Kerala was devastated by floods in the first two weeks of August, 2019. The CMC community responded by sending relief teams to various flood affected places. The Department of Accident and Emergency co-ordinated the relief efforts and multiple teams were sent based on the need conveyed by our alumni and mission hospitals in Kerala. Relief materials like food items, water, clothes, toiletries and medicines were bought or collected from various sources. Residents of many campuses (Bagayam, Hospital, KPTR), the children of Ida Scudder school children as well as MBBS & AHS students donated to the cause and were also actively involved in collecting and packing the relief material onto the supply trucks that were sent with the teams.

Team 1: Wayanad, August 19-20, 2018
The first team was a student based initiative. They visited four relief camps in Wayanad and also did a house to house survey, offering assistance. Medical aid, in the form of supplies and drugs were given to the Mananthavadi government hospital. 

Team 2: Kottayam, August 20-22, 2018
This team conducted medical camps on day one in Kumarakam after which they also visited a school based relief outlet. On the second day, they made field visits to Kurichi, Thiruvarppu, Thiruvathilkal and also to a relief camp at Sri Vishnu temple.  

Team 3: Thrissur & Aluva August, 21-23, 2018
This team went to 8 relief camps, each housing between 75 to 2000 people. Various food items, toiletries, utensils and clothes were distributed to them. On day 2, the team organised medical check-ups in 4 of the relief camps. Many people had an acute shortage of their regular diabetic and hypertensive medications. The team prescribed doxycycline prophylaxis to all the people exposed to the flood waters and treated many people with fungal skin infections that was rampant in the relief camps.

Team 4: Chenganoor, August 22-24, 2018
Initially this group visited Kumbanad where they went to 3 different camp sites, most of which were organised by local authorities. On day 2, they split into two teams and provided relief material and medical aid in Maraman, Cherukolepuzha, Otheza and Mavelikara.

Team 5: Kottayam, August 27-30, 2018
This team was greeted by Father Kurian and his team in Kattapana. They had their first camp, where they saw nearly 80 patients, mostly generalised aches and pains, diabetics with neuropathy, children with upper respiratory tract infections. The second camp was in Chapath, where they provided mostly chronic medicines to the elderly, those with Diabetes, Hypertension, and Osteoporosis etc. They then proceeded to base camp in Thuthooty. The relief materials were handed over to the priests to be distributed to the needy.  They had a camp at St George retreat centre, where more than 120 patients were seen. The last camp was in an island, Irambam, an isolated village. Travel was by motor boats and with the local help they saw about 60 patients. Many of them had uncontrolled sugars and blood pressure. 

Team 6: Pattanamthitha & Alapuzha, September 5-7, 2018
This team was guided by the Believers Church in Thiruvella. They went to the Puthencavu Mathilakam Marthomaa Parish Hall on 6th in Chenganoor and Tharangam Mission Action Centre in Arattupuzha on 7th. They too treated chronic disease, musculoskeletal complaints and viral illnesses.