In 1900 the Christian Medical College and Hospital was founded in Vellore, South India. Over the last hundred and fifteen years CMCH has become one of the foremost Hospitals and Medical Colleges in South East Asia.
In 1986 The first Bone Marrow Transplant in India was done in Vellore. Since then the department of Haematology has grown almost beyond recognition, drawing patients from all parts of India and it’s neighbouring countries.
- There is no health service in India to pay for the long treatment required for those with Haematological diseases. Long months of Chemotherapy, Bone Marrow or Stem cell transplant and the ongoing care which is needed stretch ahead.
- How do patients then pay their huge bills? Many apply to the Prime Minister’s fund, State Chief Minister’s funds, various Trusts and some even put advertisements in the papers appealing for help. Friends and families sell their property and borrow money, which they may never be able to repay. Many of our patients are children and schools often raise money to help. Our department of Haematology in CMCH does one transplant completely free out of the twelve that they endeavour to do each month.
- Accommodation? Even during and then after the long stay in hospital accommodation has to be found by the family outside the hospital. Food has to be prepared or brought. Once discharged the patient will need to stay for two to three months within easy reach of the hospital and come for regular check-ups twice or thrice a week and twice on each day they come.
- Local situation. Vellore is a busy, bustling and traffic filled city now, which continues to get worse with more and more vehicles on the roads. Many built up areas still have open drains and cows and stray dogs wander along the roads. The environment is far from conducive to recovery especially for these patients who are so prone to infection because of their reduced immunity. Finding a suitable place to stay has become a nightmare for many families while costs continue to spiral upwards. Added to this is the cost of travel to and from the hospital especially if language is a difficulty. Not everyone knows Tamil ( the language of this State ) or English.
This is where the Bridge Project comes into focus!
- Our patients need accommodation at a reasonable cost
- Accommodation has to be in a clean environment;
- A place where they can walk and exercise, slowly recover and have ongoing support and help;
- A place that will form a BRIDGE for them between hospital and home.
What has been done so far
With 7,000 Out Patients every day at CMCH and the demand for more In patient beds the hospital is in the process of acquiring land where some of the major specialties will be situated in the future. The Haematology department will be one of these and a request has been made to give one acre of land for BRIDGE HOUSE.
In March 2019 the Dept. of Haematology celebrated the completion of over 2,000 Allogenic Stem cell transplants.
By the end of 2019 the Dept. hopes to be moving to the newly constructed facility at Kannigapuram.
Stem cell transplant patients need to remain in Vellore for 2-3 months after their discharge from the hospital. They need to come for regular follow up twice or three times each week and twice on at least two days – to give blood for tests in the morning and then to meet the doctor in the clinic later. Until now they have needed to find accommodation in the city which has become increasingly expensive and difficult, apart from the travelling costs of coming so often to the hospital. Most of these patients are still tired and vulnerable to infection.
The CMC Council and Administration have agreed to allocate land on the new campus for BRIDGE HOUSE. Bridge House aims to accommodate fifty Post Transplant Patients, at a reasonable cost and within walking distance of the hospital. We aim to accommodate both affluent and poorer patients.
The setting up of such a facility requires considerable investment in infrastructure, manpower etc.
So far the BRIDGE HOUSE PROJECT has raised 10 Lakhs towards the 7.5 Crores which is the present estimate for the building, layout of gardens and walk ways.
We are seeking and welcoming contributions from groups, corporates and not- for- profit organisations within India and abroad to make this dream a reality.
The proposal is that it will be within walking distance of the department so that no travel costs will be entailed. Situated in a pleasant environment with trees and garden we hope it will eventually cater for approximately twenty post transplant patients at a reasonable cost. There will be also specific area allocated for our poorer patients.
Read the complete project plan