The two-day National Health Convention & 73rd Annual General Body Meeting (AGBM) of the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) was held at St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru on 15th -16th September 2016. The theme: “Strengthening Our Institutions: Hospitals, Health Centers and Care Centers” is part of the five-year focus — “Action 2020: Repositioning for the Future.” Around 600 representatives gathered on the occasion. 

This year being the 60th death anniversary of Sr. Dr. Mary Glowrey, founder of CHAI, a procession was held. After a brief prayer service at the tomb of Sr. Dr. Mary Glowrey, a torch was lit from the flame on her tomb by Sr. Mary Karickakunnel, the Postulator for the Cause of Canonization.
Thereafter Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu, the Ecclesiastical Advisor of CHAI, along with CHAI Board Members and JMJ Sisters came to St. John’s with the torch.  At the main gate of St. John’s, Sr. Sundari Singareddy, Provincial of JMJ Bengaluru, and Sr Deena, President, CHAI, received the torch and was brought in procession to the auditorium, accompanied by a band.
In the auditorium, the candle was lit from the torch by Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu, Ecclesiastical Advisor, CHAI, followed by the Eucharistic celebration.

The inaugural ceremony started with Sr. Deena, President, CHAI, cordially welcoming the dignitaries and guests on the dais as well as all delegates.  Rev. Dr. Mathew Abraham, Director-General, CHAI, said that the collective aspirations compiled from several consultations at National, Regional and Diocesan levels have now been codified into ‘Action 2020: Repositioning for the Future’. For the next five years CHAI will focus on the theme and for this year, emphasis is on the sub-theme ‘Strengthening our institutions – Hospitals, Health Centers and Care Centers’.  He presented the AGBM  highlights and two-day schedule to participants. The chief guest of the day, His Beatitude Moran Mar. Baselious  Cardinal Cleemis, President, CBCI, in his presidential address  emphasized the need to work for inclusive healthcare, repositioning and strengthening of CHAI institutions without compromising core values.  CHAI Annual Report 2015-16 was released by Most. Rev. Prakash Mallavarapu, and CHAI Herbal Calender 2016 by Sr. Deena.
Sr. Sundari, the Provincial of JMJ congregation, launched ‘Sr. Dr. Mary Glowrey Fellowship’ and Fr. Paul Parathazham, Director, St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, inaugurated ‘Health Pavilions-2016.’ Mr. Milan Rao, President and CEO, GE Healthcare- India and South Asia, and Mr. John Doyle, President & CEO, Ascension Holdings, shared their experiences in healthcare delivery.
Four new initiatives, namely ‘Common Procurement, Doctors for India’, ‘National Help Desk’ and ‘Resource Mobilization’ were launched on the occasion.  Fr. Mathew Perumpil, Health Secretary CBCI, Sr. Dr. Beena, President SDFI, Fr. Joe Mannath, National Secretary CRI and Sunil Gokavi, Executive Director, Emmanuel Hospitals Association graced the occasion. The inaugural session concluded with vote of thanks by Fr Santhosh Dias, Chairperson of the organising committee.


The first session of thematic talk was moderated by Fr. Mathew Pumpil. During the session Dr. Manjeeth  Singh from GE Health India and South Asia Office spoke about ” Low-cost Technology for Health Care: Sustainable Health Care Solutions”. Dr. Mario Vaz, Professor, St. John’s Research Institute, Bengaluru  spoke briefly about Sr. Dr. Mary Glowrey, Founder of CHAI and her relevance in today’s health care apostolate. Mr. John Doyle, Executive Vice-President Ascension; President & CEO, Ascension Holdings shared “The Ascension Story” and how Catholic Hospitals transform to maintain a vital presence in United States of America.  Dr. Sunil Chandy, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore, brilliantly explained “Current Situation and Challenges in Medical Education”. Mr. Cherian Thomas, National Director & CEO World Vision, shared the success-story of World Vision in Resource Mobilization and various strategies adopted by them over the last two decades in raising funds.
The second session was chaired by Ms. Anuvinda Varkey, Executive Director, Christian Coalition for Health. As the first speaker;  Dr. Prince Mathew, Regional Coordinator, MSF Asia, explained how their organization is organizing medical camps in unreached areas and emergency situations  as ‘Doctors beyond Boarders’. Ms. Monika, HR Officer of MSF India, explained how MSF is able to attract, approach and recruit doctors for MSF on a voluntary basis. Dr. Ravi Narayan, Community Health Advisor, Center for Public Health and Equity,  spoke on the history and relevance of Community Health of CHAI. Dr. George V. Puthuran, Head, Department of Glaucoma, Aravind Eye Care System, explained how their organization is able to provide high quality care at affordable cost for the needy. Ms. Valli Sundaran from “Give India” shared the Give India Model and giving culture in India.

Dr. Piet Reijer, Public Health Consultant, Medical Mission Institute, Wurzburg, explained on MEDBOX, and Fr. George Kannamthanam, Director, ‘Vision Project’, shared about the project and its collaboration with CHAI.


The Technical Consultation held on 15th as part of the National Health Convention may remain a historic moment in taking forward the ‘Action 2020: Repositioning CHAI for the Future’. Moderated by CHAI’s Director-General, the consultation had forty-seven participants, including Archbishop Prakash Mallavarappu, members of CHAI’s Executive Board, Presidents and Directors of Regional Units and all the speakers who took part in the two thematic sessions.
All the ten speakers, including Mr. John Doyle, Executive Vice-President, Ascension – USA, presented their views on the four main themes: Hospitals; Health Center, Care Centers and Community Health; Core Values; Advocacy & Resource Mobilization.
The discussion dwelt on the possibilities of leveraging the vast internal human resource (qualified and committed full-time Sisters and Priests) and assets (land, infrastructure). Some of them highlighted the significance of proactively involving the laity in the whole process; also, the need for empowering the existing Management (Sisters) with up-to-date and relevant management skills. The speakers also suggested ways how our institutions can attract and retain committed and competent human resource like Doctors, Nurses and allied health professionals. All felt the need for sustaining the core values of affordable, quality, compassionate and ethical care to the socially and economically vulnerable.
The participants also explored the possibilities of involving and complementing govt. efforts in public health. Suggestions were also given for managing the grassroots- level data within our institutions for mobilizing resources and for policy change.
The group discussion revealed the need to be charitable while being professional; identify the strategies/projects that strengthen the internal networking while building community ownership..
Concluding the session, certain immediate steps such as consolidating the well-meaning ideas shared by the participants were proposed like evolving strategies/innovative methods/practical steps to implement them emulating the learnings of others who faced the same health scenario in the past.  

On 15th September 2016 at 7 pm, a one-and-a-half-hour cultural extravaganza was organized. With participation from various highly talented and entertaining troupes, all the participants enjoyed in the performances by energetic young people.

There was a wide variety of dance items including Punjabi, Kerala, Fusion, traditional classical dances as well as popular songs. Directed by Sr. Daisy JMJ and with creative inputs from  Fr. Joby Kavungal, RCJ, there was enthusiastic participation from St. Philomena’s Hospital, St. Philomena’s College of Nursing, Holy Cross Hostel, Mandya Diocesan Youth and Santhome Kalavedi. 


16th September 2016 began with Holy Mass presided over by Rev. Dr. Mathew Abraham. During the first session, the Presidents/ Regional Directors of 11 regional units of CHAI namely CHAAP, CHAMP, CHABIJ, CHAKA, CHAKE, CHAT, CHAW, NECHA, OCHA, RUPCHA and WBCHA presented their Annual Reports, highlighting their achievements.
Business Session: The Business Session was chaired by Rev Sr. Deena, President, CHAI. Rev Fr. Santhosh, Secretary, presented the minutes of the 72nd AGBM and  Rev Dr Fr Mathew Abraham, Director-General presented the Annual Report, 2015-2016. Statements of Accounts for the Year 2015-16 and Budget for the year 2016-17 were presented by Rev Sr Sneha, Treasurer. AGBM ratified the appointment of Auditor and ratified the enrolment of new members for the last one year. 

Conclusion: The day concluded with  a pledge by the participants. Lighting the candles, they committed themselves to the repositioning of the health ministry to reach out to the unreached following in the ways of Sr Dr Mary Glowrey. 


Five 2-day workshops were conducted as part of the AGBM on 13th and 14th September 2016. Conducted at 5 venues in Bengaluru, the topics were varied catering to the issues of the times. ‘Transformational Leadership in Healthcare’, ‘Quality Assurance in Hospital Management’, ‘Managing Care Centers’, ‘How to Sustain Health Centers’ and ‘Spirituality in Healthcare’.
The workshops were conducted by a team of experts with rich experience in their respective fields. Key speakers comprised Dr. Joga Rao (medico-legal expert), Dr. Prem Kumar Raja (co-founder of Nightingales Home Health Services);  Dr. Linge Gowda (Director, Kidwai Institute of Oncology); Dr. Ravi Narayan (Public Health expert, co-founder of Sochara);  Dr. K. R. Antony (Public Health); Dr. Maya ( Laws pertaining to healthcare institutions);  Mr. Dony Peter (Transformation Trainer);  Fr. Mathew Perumpil (CBCI Health Secretary);  and  Fr. Arputham (Spirituality expert).

About 250 participants attended the workshops. Feedback  from the participants has been very positive. CHAI is also building a database of experts who can be contacted for guidance, training and capacity-building efforts. The feedback from the Resource Persons has also been encouraging.

Gratitude for all those who worked:
I take this opportunity to thank each of you and congratulate you for shouldering the responsibility of the various committees that you were assigned in order to conduct the National Health Convention and 73rd CHAI AGBM at Bengaluru. 
Organizing Committee : 
Chair Person Fr. Santhosh, President of CHAI Karnataka, Board Members of CHAI Karnataka and the office team. General Convener Mr. Chakkappan, Sabu, Dona and Abitha, Conveners : Reception : Fr. Thomas Kallukalam and his team, Transport : Mr J K Jhonson and his team, Accommodation: Fr Jaison, MI and his team, Food & Physical arrangements : Fr Saji, MCBS and his team, Entertainment /Cultural Programme, St Philomena:  Sr Daisy, JMJ and her team, Publicity & Documentation : Fr Binu Kunnath and his team, Liturgy : Sr Elsie and team, Sr. Leah and Sr. Vinaya from Maria Hostel, Security & Volunteers: Fr Thomas TOR and his team, Finance & Fund Raising: Fr Vinod and his team, Health Expo: Sr Vijaya and her team, Sr Dr Mary Glowrey event: Sr Sundari,  and JMJ for accommodation. Volunteers: Mathew Thomas, Saji George, Rince Kuriakose, Rishal, Jojo, Freddie, Antony, Tom Mathew, Nursing Students : Sr. Celcy, Sr. Flora, Ms. Molly and Ms. Mini.
St. Johns Medical College Director: Fr. Paul Parathazham & Associate Director Fr. Jesudoss, Nursing School Principal : Sr. Celcy & Sr. Flora, Sister Laurentia and team, Chief Security Officer : Mr. Jayakumar & team, Nursing Auditorium Staff : Mr. Joseph and others, Living Harmony Choir – Stany and team, Christu Vidhalaya School Band, Accommodation Venues: Snehadaan, Nirjhari – OCD House, Passionate, CST, OMI, Good Shepherd, St. Thomas Parish – for workshop hall, Upasana – for hosting pre-AGBM meetings, Emcee : Dony Peter, Fr. Mathew Perumpil – for use of his office room, Thematic Speakers, Workshop Resource People, Vendors, Media. 
CHAI Team : Associate Directors Fr. Joby, Sr. Lincy and CHAI Staff.
Regional Unit Presidents & Directors, CHAI Board Members.

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