The 77th CHAI Annual General Body Meeting (AGBM) was held on 13th October 2020 from 9 am to 1 pm. Due to COVID19 restrictions, for the first time in history, the AGBM was held online on the Zoom platform.
Responding to a Pandemic – Looking back to see into the future
Based on the situation in the country and the world, the theme for the AGBM was “Responding to a Pandemic – Looking back to see into the future”. The AGBM featured the COVID Journey of key Christian Healthcare networks and organizations, their major challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, how they responded to the challenges and a possible way forward.
650 participants registered for the event and above 400 Hospital Directors, Administrators, Sister Doctors and Sister Nurses participated in the meeting from all over the country. Several of these attendees assembled as groups of sisters or hospital staff to attend the meeting from their locations.
Sr. Victoria Narichiti JMJ, President of CHAI, gave the welcome address, specially welcoming the dignitaries from the various Christian networks across India. She appreciated the work being done by the network during this difficult time and encouraged everyone to stand in solidarity with one another, connected and interdependent.
The participants were particularly blessed with the presence of His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, President of CBCI, who gave the Inaugural Address. He highlighted that the pandemic, while being a challenge, was also an opportunity to follow the Lord’s calling and show compassion to the sick and suffering through the Healing Ministry of the Church. He appreciated the work done by all the members and their perseverance through difficult times.
The message by the Ecclesiastical Advisor to CHAI, Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu, emphasized the shock of the pandemic but also that the work of the Catholic healthcare providers was very valuable and significant.
COVID-19 Experience Sharing
After the inaugural session, the heads of various Christian health care networks and organizations shared their experiences – both negative and positive – along with lessons learnt through the pandemic. Fr Paul Moonjely, Executive Director, Caritas India; Fr Joe Mannath SVD, National Secretary, Conference of Religious of India (CRI); Sr Dr Beena Madhavath UMI, President, Sister Doctors Forum of India (SDFI); Fr. George Kannanthanam CMF, Secretary, CHAI; Dr Priya John, General Secretary, Christian Medical Association of India (CMAI); Dr Saira Mathew, Executive Director, Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA); Fr. Paul V Parathazham, Director, St John’s Academy of Health Sciences; Sr Sarla Macwan FC, National President, Catholic Nurses Guild of India (CNGI) and Fr. Mathew Abraham, Director General, CHAI, shared their experiences. Click here to see the video of these presentations for reference. Fr. Mathew also shared about how Vision 2030, released in the previous AGBM, has been implemented and how the way forward for CHAI is currently guided by the plans outlined in the Vision 2030 document.
Fr. Mathew Abraham, Director General, CHAI; Fr. Johnson Vazhapilly CMI, ED and CEO, Rajagiri Hospital; and Mr. John Santhosh, Founder, Billion Lives, presented on the new initiative by CHAI on Telehealth. In the context of the pandemic and increasing home-based care, tele-health has become crucial for sustainability. Therefore, CHAI has started a tele-health pilot project in 3 states, in collaboration with Rajagiri Hospital and Billion Lives.
This was followed by the business session of CHAI.
The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Fr. Mathew and the pledge led by Fr. James Raj, Vice President II, CHAI. It reiterated the importance of networking and standing together during this difficult time while continuing to provide healthcare to those most in need. The need for technology and innovation in the current situation was highlighted as a crucial means to continue the Healing Ministry of Jesus.
With warm regards,
Rev Dr Mathew Abraham, C.Ss.R
Director General, CHAI