Genesis of a Great Initiative
The Catholic Health Association of India celebrates it 73 years of service. The organization has grown in terms of its membership, services and expanded the scope for encompassing and achieving the mission for which it was established in 1943. The organization has been shaped and nurtured by the visionaries who directed it and by the impact of national and international happenings. There have been paradigm shifts to meet the needs and to fulfill the vision and mission of reaching the poor and marginalized.
Silver years (1943—1967)
The Catholic Hospital Association was founded on 29th July 1943, by Sr. Dr. Mary Glowrey, JMJ, in association with 16 religious sisters, July, 1943. It was founded with the motto of improvement in standard of health education and promotion of catholic values and option for poor. Sr.(Dr) Mary Glowrey was the first President and served till December 1951. She was on the Board as the first Vice-President till October 1956. 16 sisters came together to establish a catholic hospital and a collegiate course in nursing. 29th July 1943 for the first meeting and the resolutions were:
- To publish a pamphlet or magazine and
- To appoint a Board of Examiners in Nursing and Midwifery.
- Instrumental in obtaining the recognition of the nurses and midwifery course and the pharmacist –assistance course.
- Professional relationships were established with Catholic Hospitals Associations of other countries, CRS, International Catholic Confederation of Hospitals, and Indo-German Social Service Society– Misereor and 16 Eastern countries
- CHA was granted “B” (associate) membership in World Convention of International Federation at London –1965.
- The in-house bulletin ‘Catholic Hospital’ was published in 1944 renamed as ‘Medical Service’ – 1959. The articles projected the happenings in the field of medicine and the involvement in contemporary medical movements.
- July 1957 CHA’s Statistics: 100 Catholic Hospitals; 10 hospitals have over 100 beds and the rest between 20 to 40 beds.
- Annual conventions were organized every year as a mandatory requirement.
Golden Years (1968—1993)
The golden Era was marked with the initiated thinking of the Church’s role in health, healing and wholeness
- 1969 – The Voluntary Health Association of India.
- Late 60’ and early 70’s – development of pioneer Community Health Projects by the NGO’s in the Country.
- Mid 70’s new departments were initiated – Hospital Pastoral Care Service, Legal Care Service, Legal Service Department and the Medical Moral Affairs Department followed by the Central purchasing Service (CPS).
- Adopted the goal “Health for Many More by Many More”.
- 1981 – established a Community Health Department and 1983 initiated trainings and promotion for village health workers.
- Regional units were formed
- 1987 – Medical Service evolved into Health Action and registered under separate society –”Health Accessories for All (HAFA)”.
- 1986 – Headquarters shifted from Delhi to Secunderabad
The Diamond Years (1994-2003)
CHAI’s focus was to develop a three-tier approach to tackle the issues at the national, regional and diocesan level.
- These strategies enabled the regional units to autonomy in the areas of functions, finances & administration.
- It was strengthened through amendments to the constitution, planning & forming core teams and redefining roles; capacity-building; developing management information system at both national and regional levels.
- Intensified efforts in Disaster Management Areas and Legal Aid Cell.
- Documentation process is given a separate identify to meet the needs of the time.
- Networking and collaboration with international and national organizations such as Catholic Medical Mission Board, World Vision India, Catholic Relief Services, Maltesar, UNIDAS, People’s Health Assembly (PHA), National AIDS Control Organization, State AIDS Control Society of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu; Sight Savers, the State Government – Government of Andhra Pradesh
Phases of growth and development
Thrusts of CHAI
- Achieving universal access to health through national and international networking, and through the process of capacity building and advocacy.
- Addressing communicable diseases and related issues through specific interventions of awareness, capacity building, advocacy and networking.
- Assisting in promoting indigenous systems of medicine for enabling and empowering people to manage health problems as well as working towards becoming an accrediting institution in Integrated Systems of Medicine.