CMC Vellore

Three Knocks at the Door gives birth to a world class centre of excellence in the Healing Ministry in India namely CMC.
(Dr KM George, Advisor cum consultant of UNICEF)
I was lucky to visit CMC Vellore on 15th November 2018 on a private mission. It was a great eye opener to know a bit more holistically about the vision and philosophy of this healing centre of excellence. It was nice to see a wonderful blend of gender empowerment and distributive social justice in full play there. Though initially I thought that it was a kind of robbing Peter to pay Paul financial planning, in its fine tuning it was found that it is the way to make the well off to help the voiceless and the marginalised as we are keepers of our brethren.
Flash back
It was way back in 1900 a young American lady from a deep Christian value oriented family came to nurse her ailing mother. She was asked by her dad who was a medical practitioner to come down to India. This young woman never wanted to work as a doctor or come to stay in India as missionary either. While reading her book, she heard a knock at the main door of the house, to find a young Hindu Brahmin man begging for help in child birth of his young wife. He was told that she was not a medico but can request her dad to help with the child birth. He left immediately saying a male helping the child birth is totally unacceptable to his conservative culture. Then comes a second knock at the same door after a while. It was with the same request from a Muslim man. He too left dejected. Finally another high caste Hindu knocked at the door seeking same help. But the reply made him too very sad. The very next day this young white lady was anxious to find out the final outcome of the above three women in labour. Alas all died due to social customs and the enigma of ignorance and perceptional handicaps. This young woman changed her mind to become a female doctor and come to India as a missionary as well. Despite several odds she got admission for MBBS course in the only US medical college which was willing to admit females for medical profession.
The three knocks finally resulted in the world class CMC as you see today with vertical and horizontal linkages and spread effects with the least exploitative market forces in operation in the healing ministry in India and to some extent in the world over.
I did meet a few senior professionals to make myself familiar with the vision, philosophy and operational milieu of CMC. They included Prof Dr Deepak Abraham, Associate Director, Principal Prof Dr Anna Pulimood, Dr George M Varghese, Dr Lalle Varghsese, Mr Samuel Chandraraj
from the office of the MS and the PRO Mr Jasper Durai. In fact, Director Prof Dr JV Peter only arranged these meetings as he had to go for some other meetings elsewhere. I did profitably observe many staff at work and the way they interact with patients and others.
I being an evaluator – M&E professional- for the last 40 years visiting and observing some 7500 villages and interacting with close to one million stake holders under ADB; UNDP; UNOPS,FAO, UNICEF, etc, I did keep my eyes and ears open during my stay here for about 12 hours.
I would like to summarise my observations and a few candid suggestions for academic interest as it is a totally unsolicited exercise to put it bluntly. I hope it may eventually prepare CMC to face the future challenges holistically as we are in a moving equilibrium in relation to the fast changing soico-economic ; geo political and technological milieu. Admittedly CMC has grown beyond the wildest imaginations of its founder Ida Scudder- its eternal source of inspiration.
1) It seems on an average there are around 30,000 people in CMC including staff, students, patients and visitors. Are we fully prepared to handle it with long range planning up to 2050 as per the motto.
“Not to be ministered unto, but to minister”.
2) Daily expenses estimated at Rs 3. 15 crores may go up due to general price rise. What type of cost saving/ cutting measures are to be worked out without sacrificing the quality of excellence?
3) The room rents are to be rationally revised for all categories including the general ward patients. For longer term occupancy exceeding 15 days special concessions may be given taking into account their wherewithal and insurance cover etc. Member Church patients may be accorded special considerations in payments unless they are covered fully by insurance companies. General ward beds may be further considered for rent reductions at Rs 500 to 600 a day.
4) The salary structure may be rationalised or hiked as per the economic pressures and due to trade union demands taking into consideration the industry macro situations that are prevailing elsewhere dictated by the consumer price index too.
5) The hitherto followed volunteerism in accepting relatively lower salary may be in for rude shocks as the very core of value system may undergo changes due to the full play of the forces of market economy. Volunteerism may become obsolete in due course unless inbuilt course corrections are in place in CMC.
6) Aid dependency with its inherent lethargy and complacency on the part of recipients, may be seen as the major threat to the SDGs that one may plan to work out for CMC. Even donors are shying away from handing over money on an ongoing basis unless it suits their own agenda as well. Nonetheless, sources like WCC—Ecumenical sources- may be taped.
7) It is worth exploring aggressively sources of CSR funds for such a great cause very much falling within the SDGs or Agenda 2030.
8) It seems the strategy of crowd dispersing that you are pursuing is a good exercise. Surely if land is not a constraint, better plan for comprehensive set ups for critical care units to bring them operationally and functionally under the same umbrella of policy making bodies in any focal point.
9) CMC must proactively and profitably embrace the emerging Knowledge Society concept and AI on its stride to become a leader of excellence.
10) The museum may be beefed up with self explanatory captions in English/Hindi and other local languages as per demand.
11) There is a need to set up and light and sound show on the history of CMC for the last 118 years aimed at donors and the visiting public, apart from policy makers who visit as stake holders in giving funds and recognition. It may be got done in English and Hindi plus local languages as per demand. It must be demand driven.
12) The laundry unit is doing an excellent job. But it may be relocated to less prime location. The same logic holds good for the CMC—Bombay Foot and Limb manufacturing unit.
13) Solar energy must be given top priority as the current 30 percent coverage is very meagre. There is revenue in it for CMC to tap it wisely.
14) Clean and Green energy must be give due consideration. It is good to try to get carbon credit from the UN for CMC efforts.
15) Water is very scarce and the hard water is a major threat faced by CMC due to its many ill effects including corrosion. Rain water harvesting is a poor alternative as the area under discussion does not offer much scope. Recycling as done in Israel may be judiciously planned.
16) Waste disposal may be accorded added emphasis by segregating it as solid and non solid, biodegradable etc as done in the western hemisphere.
17) The biggest policy challenge may be as how to keep up the core values of CMC for the posterity. But winner you think, winner you will become. CMC must embrace the creed of possibility thinking and doing things differently to achieve excellence to contain the slaughter of modern corporates who love goods and services and make use of people to achieve that end.
18) I found CMC very imaginative, innovative and know CMC has a great future at this rate. It has very clear objectives, vision, terrific enthusiasm and tremendous capacity for hard work and that is a combination which must win.
19) The conspicuous absence of micro management is a great reason for this success story of CMS as I do perceive.
20) The functional freedom given to medical professionals to take informed decisions even in effecting remissions in payments/ waving bill payments is an amazing management tool well exercised in CMC without any misuse.
21) I heard about a wonderful witness by my PhD guide from London School of Economics Prof Dr RN Tripathy, way back in 1980 that he saw the face of Jesus Christi in the person of his personal physician Dr Fen in CMC! The same story even now many narrate in and around North East and even Bangladesh with personalised memories.
22) It seems the morning prayer at CMC gives you all great light and strength to become the true ambassadors of good will and empathy. I only hope and pray that you will handle your success story with rededication to hand over to the posterity as a great tribute to Ida Scudder!
Dr KM George,
17th Nov, 2018.

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