Church opens Indian state’s first hospice


An initiative of the Diocese of Kohima, the center in Nagaland will be run by the Medical Sisters of St Joseph of Kerala

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio (right) with Bishop James Thoppil of Kohima during the inauguration of the state’s first hospice in Chumukedima near Dimapur on April 24. (Photo : Twitter)

Posted: April 26, 2022 07:19 GMT

Updated: April 26, 2022 10:33 GMT

The Catholic Church has set up the first-ever palliative care center in Nagaland, a predominantly Christian state in northeast India.

The St. Joseph Pain and Palliative Care center in Chumukedima, near the Dimapur state trading hub, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, a Baptist Christian, on April 24.

The center is an initiative of the Diocese of Kohima and will be led by the Medical Sisters of St. Joseph, Nirmala Province of Kerala who are known for their dedicated service to the sick, the poor and the least of the brethren regardless of caste and creed. .

“This first full-fledged palliative care center in Nagaland intends to provide a free service. The state government will provide all possible assistance to carry out this free service to the people,” Rio said.

Nagaland, a predominantly Christian Baptist stronghold, along with the southern state of Tamil Nadu, have the highest percentage of elderly people living alone without a spouse, children or any other support, according to the first Longitudinal Study on Aging in India published in 2021.

“The high rate of elderly people living alone in Nagaland may be related to the emigration of the labor force because [of] low availability of white-collar government jobs,” the study adds.

“Palliative care is not only about relieving the suffering of patients but also about comforting and supporting families in difficult times”

Rio commended the Catholic Church in Nagaland for launching “this much-needed new service” under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Bishop James Thoppil of Kohima.

“Palliative care is not only about relieving the suffering of patients, but also about comforting and supporting families in difficult times,” the chief minister said while calling on people across the state to come forward and help. support the charitable cause in any way possible.

Bishop Thoppil said that the Catholic Church of Nagaland and the Diocese of Kohima are known for their contributions in the field of education and will serve with equal zeal and dedication in the health sector.

As a charitable institution, the center will have no prerequisites to avail of its services, said Fr. Chacko Karinthayil, director of Shalom Rehabilitation Center run by the Diocese of Kohima. “Anyone who is in need, anyone who is not able to take care of themselves can come here,” he said.

The priest said the center will provide both institutionalized and home-based care to people suffering from a terminal illness like cancer or to people who are bedridden without a cure for their disease.

The center will provide palliative care, pain management, physiotherapy, nursing and end-of-life care. There will be an outpatient clinic, an inpatient center for approximately 20 people, medical camps, home care, daycare support, and training and equipping people to provide palliative care at home.

On the issue of funding, Fr ​​Karinthayil said, “We will approach people willing to help us financially or by volunteering and training to take care of sick relatives.”

The center has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dimapur-based Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research (CIHSR), established in 2007 as a partnership between Christian Medical College, Vellore, Emmanuel Hospital Association, New Delhi and the Government of Nagaland. a charity.

Christians form 90% of the 2.2 million inhabitants of Nagaland. Christianity arrived in this tribal stronghold in 1871.

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