Bangalore: St John's lauded for setting new benchmarks in rural service for doctors

From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore

Bangalore, Aug 9: Lavish encomiums were showered on St John’s Medical College and Hospital, which held the valedictory function of its golden jubilee, for being a pioneer in several areas of health service and also setting up new benchmarks in compelling and encouraging young medical professionals to take up rural service and care for the neglected as well as under-privileged sections of society.

A galaxy of dignitaries from Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Home Minister K J George, Transport Minister B Ramalinga Reddy, Medical Education Minister Dr Sharan Prakash Patil and CBCI President Most Rev Basilios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, Archbishop of Trivandrum, as well as, Apostolic Nuncio Most Rev Salvatore Pennacchio, Vatican’s Envoy to India, lauded the contribution and service of all institutions coming under the umbrella of the St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences.

The Chief Minister, who is known to be reticent in offering accolades to any individual or institution, was quite effusive and set the tone in praising the St John’s brand of service, when he observed quite fittingly: ''This may be a golden jubilee for you. But it is a golden moment for me.”

Harking upon the ancient ethos of the country, he said the doctors and the healing profession had been equated with God due to the divine prowess in ameliorating sickness and suffering since time immemorial. ''Doctors are the most respected sections of society due to their vast knowledge and qualities of kindness, compassion and humane approach in treating the sick,” he said.

Empathy, Sympathy to Patients

He, however, regretted that the medical profession had been so commercialised in recent times and even debased that most of the present generation of doctors lacked the two basic qualities of kindness and humane approach, which used to be the hallmarks of the medical profession. ''Doctors should have sympathy and empathy with patients,” he said urging the Medical Institutions to emulate the example of St John’s Medical College and Hospital in encouraging and even compelling the doctors to serve in rural and remote areas.

While there was dearth of funds for the health sector at the State and National level, the Chief Minister felt it was paradoxical that all the investments in the health sector was mainly concentrated in big cities and urban centres to the utter neglect of the rural and remote areas. The main problem was the unwillingness of the doctors to serve in rural areas, Siddaramaiah said.

Exhorting the medical professionals to never forget their commitment to follow the tenets of the hippocratic oath, the Chief Minister said it was laudable that the founders of the St John’s Institutions insisted on making two-year rural service mandatory for all doctors since the beginning.

Assuring the St John’s Institutions of all support from the Government, the Chief Minister said the College and Hospital and allied institutions have become a ''feather in the cap of Bangalore” and warmly acknowledged that the Doctors and Alumnus of the College have won accolades for themselves and their alma mater in India and globally.

Govt to Support Intake Hike

Medical Education Minister Dr Sharan Prakash Patil, who is a medical professional himself, won the hearts of the audience by his gesture of staying till the end of the function, assured all help to the Institution from the Government and promised to support the case of the St John’s Medical College for enhancing its annual intake for admissions from the present 60 to 150 seats as the State and country needed quality doctors willing to serve in rural and remote areas.

Transport Minister B Ramalinga Reddy and Home Minister K J George, both of whom are known to be close to the St John’s family, said the College and the Hospital and their record of service to the people of the State and the country has been a model for all other institutions. ''Christian missionaries have pioneered and have become synonymous for their exemplary record of service in the fields of healthcare and education,” remarked Reddy and said St John’s was a shining example.

CBCI President Most Rev Basilios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, Archbishop of Trivandrum, who presided over the function, said St John’s institutions have embodied the divine intent of healing touch in keeping with its motto ''He Shall Live Because of Me.” The village outreach programme as well as the two-year bond for rural service for all doctors passing out of the college and the emphasis of community service projects were heart-warming, he said.

Second Best Medical School in India

St John’s Medical College and Hospital, the first and only one of its kind established and run by the CBCI, Cardinal Cleemis said has been rightly rated as the second best medical school in India and has been consistently ranked among the top 10 medical colleges in the country over the years.

Apostolic Nuncio Most Rev Salvatore Pennacchio, Vatican’s Envoy to India, who could not reach Bangalore despite reaching Delhi from Rome late last night, in his message read out by Fr Lawrence D’Souza, Director of the St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, appreciated the healing ministry of the St John’s institution and the service to the poor and marginalised sections of society. The sick, lonely, marginalised, neglected and abandoned sections of the society need special care, he said and pointed out that the present Pope Francis accorded the highest priority to the healing ministry.

Dr Auburn Jacob, Alumnus of the 1973 batch and Director of Emmaus Swiss Leprosy Mission, serving in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, emphasised the need to provide suitable incentives to make rural service more attractive to the young medical professionals.

Special mementos were presented to the former CBCI President and Archbishop of Bombay His Eminence Valerian Cardinal Gracias and Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church. Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Bernard Morass, former chairman of the Governing Board, and its present chairman Most Rev Francis Kalarackal, were also honoured. Former Associate Directors and Deans were felicitated.

Fry Lawrence D’Souza, Director, welcomed. Dr K Srinivasan, Dean of the St John’s Medical College, proposed a vote of thanks.

The valedictory function of the golden jubilee was followed with a solemn mass concelebrated with CBCI President His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, as the main celebrant and a large number of Archbishops, Bishops and Priests.


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Comment on this article

  • Rajeev Rao, udupi

    Sun, Aug 10 2014

    Hats off to St.Johns. Great contribution to medical and education field. But did not like siddu on the dias. Amul baby would have been better.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse


    Sun, Aug 10 2014

    St. John's is no doubt a great institution. But I do not understand why we have to call rotten politicians to a solemn occasion like this. In all civilized countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France and many others, politicians are not invited to functions of this nature. Persons of eminence with substantial contribution in the field that are invited. I hope on the next occasion this great institution and institutions like this will keep politicians away.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 10 2014

    St. John's Medical College and Hospital has gone down in history as a pioneer Catholic Institution in India. This history goes back to fifty years when The Catholic Bishop's Conference of India conceived the idea to have Medical College in India and Rev. Dr. Percy Fernandes (now Bishop Fernandes) was called upon to make a beginning. Bishop Percy indeed made an unique beginning - thus laying the foundation for St. John's Institutions. The mighty College and Hospital now stands in an easily accessible area in the vicinity of Bangalore City. Professors and doctors from various segments have been greatly responsible to get the best out young people aspiring to be the future doctors/surgeons.

    Yong people who have qualified from S.J.M.C sing the glory of the institution all over the world and more particularly in America.

    I have known a few of the people working for this mighty Medical College and I have no hesitation in saying that they have rendered yeomen service to St. John's.

    I have had the pleasure of being invited by St. John's to conduct the observation tests on the candidates seeking admission to the college and during my visits to St. John's I realized the fruitful work that is being done at various levels.

    The present director Rev. Dr. Lawrence D'Souza has held the reins for the past six years and during his tenure there has been great progress. This cleric was able to the kind of service that he has rendered because of his past experience in the medical field having been an administrator at Father Muller's Hospital and Medical College earlier. That apart he holds very high qualifications from U.S.A. holding a PH.D. from an university like Fordham.

    I join scores of people in saying kudos to St. John's. With Father Lawrence laying down his office shortly, it is my hope that a competent person replaces him to keep up the great traditions and history of St. John's.

    Joe Gonsalves

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 9 2014

    I have the greatest respect and admiration for St. John's Medical College and Hospital promoted by C.B.C.I. For the past fifty years St. John's has stood by the people of Bangalore - by the people of India and nay by the people of the world. Over the last fifty years St. John's have shrived to help the poor and needy in health care.

    On the dais I can see a galaxy of prominent people not only from the side of the clergy but also from the Government front. I take pride in stating that I had the pleasure of knowing the very first Director of St. John's - Rev. Father Percy Fernandes (now Bishop Percy). I have known a number of other important doctors and members of the clergy devoting their time attention towards HEALTH CARE.

    I am not surprised at all that the institution is now lauded for setting new benchmarks in rural service.

    Rev. Doctor Lawrence D'Souza was called upon to guide the future destiny of St. John's six years ago and he has indeed strived to take this great name to greater heights and with success too. As he is getting ready to lay down his office it is my thought, wish and prayer that some one who will step into his shoes will try and do even a better job.


    Joe Gonsalves

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Fr Victor Machado, Mangalore/Tanzania

    Sat, Aug 9 2014

    Nice coverage. May St.John's Medical College continue to become a beacon of hope for the poor and the disadvantaged.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

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