Well another hot and steamy day in Chennai but it was a bit of a relaxing day. We began with a visit to the diocese office and the garden of vision divine then it was off to Kalyani hospital. We had the opportunity to wander around the hospital and see the work that the hospital do. Kalyani is currently working on plans to build a new hospital as the current building is 103 years old, and obviously at that age it has seen better days, yet the staff are dedicated and provide excellent care. The environment is far removed from that of Australian standards and with the competition of the huge international hospitals Kalyani have realized that it they need a new place where they can offer more medical services.
Kalyani is a mission hospital and I can’t help but compare the fact that the Uniting Church also has hospitals yet unless people have good private health insurance the access to their services is pretty much impossible. The difference is that Kalyani has never lost sight of what it’s role is, a mission hospital, to ensure that even those who cannot afford health care have access to good health care. It receives no funding from the government and survives on support from the churches and those who are able to pay for services – they have not sold out to the capitalist world and succumb to profit before people. Their vision for the future new Kalyani hospital continues to be the same – mission – people unable to pay for medical treatment will still be able to access medical treatment and with the new building being bigger and better equipped more medical services will be available.
The challenge then has to be to the Church run hospitals around the developed world, dare we take the radical step of putting people before profit knowing that there is a risk to our profit margins, knowing that staff may not be paid as highly, yep I can hear it now, there is no way we could do that, the staff would not be as qualified, people would not want to work there, and herein lies the trap of high profit margins being more important than the people we serve!
Always the challenge we profess to be people of an Easter faith yet are always able to justify not being a radical community, which incidentally is what we are called to be. Living in a society so bound by preparing for retirement, ensuring that we have financial security, focusing on our individual needs for the present and the future. I too confess to being caught up in this life of justification and struggle to and wrestle with what the call really looks like. I will leave that challenge for each of you who read this, you can either ponder or dismiss.
On another note it was a fairly relaxed afternoon we each went off for a wander before preparing to go out for dinner.