St. John’s Hospital Covid Care Centre in Bengaluru, India. 

By Robin Gomes

Aug 24 2020

The first medical facility of the Catholic Church of India exclusively for Covid-19 patients has been inaugurated in the southern city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore).

A care centre for Covid-19 patients at the prestigious St John’s Medical College of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, was blessed and inaugurated by Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore on Aug. 17. 

The St. John’s Hospital Covid Care Centre has 48 isolation beds, a 24-bed intensive treatment unit (ITU) and a 24-bed intensive care unit (ICU). 

St. John’s Hospital for poor and needy

“The Church is always at the forefront to help the poor and the needy, whether in the education or health fields, and it is an opportunity to give our selfless service to our society and nation,” Archbishop Machado told UCA News.

He pointed out that St John’s Medical College has taken “a leading step to provide healthcare to people during these crucial times”, and thanked all who made the new facility possible. 

The medical college has given free treatment worth over US$ 67,000 in the last five months in tackling the virus.

By the end of July, it had screened more than 5,000 fever patients, 2,000 patients in the emergency department, treated more than 600 patients on the wards and taken care of some 500 critically ill patients in the ICU.

Father Paul Parathazham, director of St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, that includes the college and other units, noted that despite financial constraints, they have been providing excellent Covid care, which is rare among private hospitals.  “It is the best thing we could provide during these difficult times,” he told to UCA News.

The new Covid Care Centre, he said, is located away from the main hospital but is well linked, so that non-Covid patients can access the outpatient department area, laboratory and pharmacy without coming into contact with infected patients.

Church fights Covid stigma, ostracism

The priest lamented that Covid-19 patients are stigmatized, ostracized and even physically attacked but the college has risen to the challenge of providing affordable healthcare to Covid-s9patients.

Father Parathazham expressed gratitude Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives which helped establish the ICU and Titan Company Ltd. funded the 48-bed isolation ward at the Covid Care Centre.

St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences

St. John’s Medical College was established in 1963 by the CBCI with the aim of training healthcare personnel committed to serving the poor in the margins of society. 

Later it was incorporated into St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, which includes a state-of-the-art hospital with 1350 beds for all medical and surgical departments including super-speciality departments.  It includes a college for nursing, a research institute, and an Institute of Health Care Management and Paramedical Studies.

The motto of St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences -“He shall live because of me” – is a constant reminder to its staff and students that they are God’s collaborators in the care of human lives. and are instruments of healing, dependent on the divine.

Globally, India has the third-highest caseload of Covid-19 after the United States and Brazil.  Its 55,794 deaths is the fourth-highest in the world.   India’s Health Ministry reported 69,878 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 2,975,701. The nation of 1.3 billion has been reporting the biggest daily rise in cases for 18 consecutive days.