Super Care at Low Cost
Small Town, Grand Visions
Super Care at Low Cost
A group of Muslim NRIs have set up a super speciality children’s hospital in Bangalore which provides high specialty care at low cost
By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj
THEY began with a small clinic in a slum in Bangalore and now run a super speciality children’s hospital. Their faculty includes a few world class paediatrician. Some of the rarest of the rare surgeries have been conducted under the roof of the hospital. All this within a span of 11 years!
To begin with they were a group of like-minded Muslim NRIs leading cozy lives in England or South East Asian countries. It was around late 80s that the call of the native soil began knocking at their hearts. They drew a plan for promoting education, health and hygiene in Bangalore slums. A small clinic came up in Gangondanahalli area. The work started in earnest in the slums of Valmikinagar and Azadnagar. Looking at the magnitude of the ill-health among the lower strata of society, particularly Muslims, they decided to set up a super speciality hospital for children in Bangalore. Till then neither the city nor Karnataka had any hospital devoted exclusively for children. And the one they were setting up was meant to serve the people from the lower strata of the people, yet provide high class treatment.
BCH’s ‘Safe Motherhood Programme’ provides entire pregnancy-delivery care for Rs. 1,200 while a normal delivery would cost around Rs. 8,000 in any city nursing home
Thus was conceived the Bangalore Children’s Hospital (BCH) and Research Centre on the southern outskirts of the city. The construction work that began in early 1993 was completed in a record time and the hospital conducted its first operation in the 11th month after laying of its foundation. The six NRIs who formed the Sachkumvit Trust, named after the street in London where they reside, for the purpose, contributed Rs. 13 crore for the 200-bed facility on a nearly two lakh square feet area. Today BCH boasts of a 16-member team of super specialists in paediatrics who have earned a name for the hospital for tertiary care and referral centre for all kinds of ailments of children. It has emerged as the only hospital in the country which provides training in developmental paediatrics (for rehabilitation of the handicapped children). Now cases are referred routinely from Bangalore’s upscale St. John’s and Manipal Hospitals for advanced treatment.
In keeping with its claims of a super speciality hospital, the BCH targeted its effort in specialised treatment. It is the first children’s hospital in Karnataka to have a child development department doing pioneering work in rehabilitation of handicapped children. The department is headed by Dr. Nandini Mundkur, an Ashoka Fellow awardee in paediatrics. The hospital has therefore equipped itself with necessary paraphernalia for early detection of growth disorders in infants. This has led the BCH to start the Evoked Response Audiometry to detect level of hearing impairment in children below one year, arrange brain mapping for children with seizures, set up Regional Thalassaemia Centre and Jagruthi School for children with learning disabilities and vocational training centre for children with special needs.
The BCH has gathered a galaxy of paediatricians who work with devotion without insisting on corporate salaries
The BCH has carried out a few rare surgeries and saved children from life threatening ailments. In one instance, 70 per cent of enlarged liver of a child was surgically removed by Dr. Jayanth Iyengar. The child has since grown into an adolescent. According to Dr. Iyengar, only 40 such surgeries have so far been carried out globally. In another case, a son of a quarry worker with respiratory paralysis known as Gullian Barre syndrome was sent here from St. John’s Hospital. The Hospital not only made him stand back on his feet, but also waived three-fourths of his bill running upto Rs. 30,000. It has also carried out surgeries for TOF for blocks in the canal leading from mouth inside, urea cycle disorders or even dengue fever.
A unique feature of the Hospital is its ‘Safe Motherhood Programme’ aimed at providing low cost medical care to pregnant mothers from the poorest strata of the society. Under this programme, the Hospital invites women to register themselves immediately after they conceive and secure medical advice all through the period of pregnancy, delivery and two months of post-natal treatment. According to Mr. S. Akbar Basha, chief administrator, nearly 1,000 deliveries were handled under the programma within first year of its introduction. All that the pregnant women contribute is Rs. 100 a month for a period of nine months (The rates have been since revised and now stand at Rs. 1,200 for the period). This involves monthly visits, necessary medicine, two ultra-sound scannings, delivery under the supervision of expert paediatrician, 3-5 days of hospitalisation of mother for delivery, immunisation vaccines for the new-born and post natal care for next two month including medicine. However, only 30 per cent of the beneficiaries were Muslim women so far.
Says Akbar Basha, the hospital had been able to provide specialist care at a cost that is one-third of what the corporate hospitals would charge. He attributes this strength of the hospital to a dedicated band of doctors for whom service comes above self. “As a principle, we do not appoint doctors who graduate out of capitation-based colleges,” he adds. The BCH intends to set up a department for research on adolescents, blood disorders etc. Its Centre for Transplantation of Bone Marrow, inaugurated recently, is currently non-functional due to paucity of experienced hands.
What however sets the BCH apart is its ability to keep at bay the greed that characterises corporate hospitals without compromising on quality health care.
Bangalore Children’s Hospital and Research Centre, 363, 5th Stage, Rajeshwarinagar, Bangalore -560039, India, Ph. 080-8600252, 8600552, e-mail : email@example.com Website :
Small Town, Grand Visions
A visionary group of Muslim youths are charting a new course of development for a small town
By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj
SMALL town, big hostel and grandiose ambitions! This is how one can describe the dynamism of a determined group of activists who are out to change the socio-economic complexion of the Muslims in Chintamani, a small taluka town in Kolar district of Karnataka.
It was in 1990 that the Muslim youths here felt that the educational standards of Muslims were coming down mainly because the Government Urdu medium schools were functioning in a lacklustre style. Rather they were creating disinterest in education due to the shabby atmosphere, apathetic attitude of the superiors and lack of interest by parents. The youths mobilised the local resources and formed the Muslim Welfare Association (MWA). A land allotted for construction of a hostel way back in 1975 was retrieved from the pile of records.
Ten years later, the small town is witnessing the massive structure of the hostel rising floor by floor. The Muslim Welfare complex has 45 room and has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 60 lakh. It has become a beehive of activity with the Hostel complex now having a school and an orphanage besides the hostel. Though the hostel has only 27 inmates, it is likely to attract more as education facilities expand in the little town. The English medium Muslim Welfare Association School started in 1994 has now 350 boys and girls and is adding a class every year on its way to a high school. The Association received Rs. 1.10 lakh from the Al-Ameen Charitable Foundation, Rs. 5 lakh from the Maulana Azad Foundation in Delhi (with a promise of another Rs. 5 lakh) and Rs. one lakh from the Government of Karnataka. Several businessmen from the town also chipped in by sponsoring construction of rooms dedicated to their memory.
On another level, the Association members, concerned at the pathetic state of Government Urdu School in Chintamani, constructed a new building at a cost of Rs. Five lakh and gifted the same to the school. According to secretary of the Association Dr. Safdar Baig, the MWA has envisaged a scheme whereby they will finance the education of 30 drop-out students of the town every year and will compensate their parents for the wages lost due to their withdrawal from child labour. Similarly they propose to set up a cooperative bank, a residential school, a technical school and a girls’ hostel. A 7-acre plot of land has been purchased for the residential school at a distance of five kms from the town. Efforts are also on to set up a computer institute with aid from Norwegian agency NORAD.
Chintamani is a small town of 1.25 lakh population with Muslims constituting nearly 30 per cent. Main activity here is trade serving as a mandi for farmers from around the town. Due to efforts from the MWA, the literacy rate is slowly inching its way up and is estimated to be around 50 per cent now.
Muslim Welfare Association, K.R.Extension, Chintamani, Kolar Dist- 563125, Karnataka, India, Ph.: 08154-50487 / 52304.