The Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, India
CMC was founded by Ida Sophia Scudder in 1900. Ida Scudder was the daughter of a North American missionary couple who were living in India. As a young girl, she was not interested in pursuing her parents’ footsteps into missionary works. The Scudder family went back to United States of America in 1878 and then returned to India after a few years. But Ida Scudder had stayed back in USA until 1890 when she returned to India to take care of her ailing mother.
It was at that point of time that she witnessed the pathetic condition of medical services in India, and felt the desperate need for women doctors in India. One evening, an Indian man came to their home requesting medical help for his wife who was in labor. But he rejected Dr John Scudder, the father of Ida Scudder’s offer to help, as Indian social customs had anathematized male doctors’ conducting of labor. Two more men came with similar requests, seeking medical help for their wives in labor, but again turning down Dr John Scudder’s offer. The three women died in labor that night.
This shocking incident caused Ida to change her attitude towards India and she made her mind to get a medical degree so she could be of some help to Indian women. She started a small dispensary in Vellore in 1900. In 1902, she built a 40-bed hospital. She continued her work in the dispensary and also started training women as compounders in 1903. She began setting up “Roadside” Dispensaries, the first one in 1906. She started a training program for nurses, which expanded into a nursing school in 1909. She also began training women physicians with the Union Mission Medical School for Women that she started in 1918. In the 1938 the government changed its policy declaring that medical degrees could be granted only by universities and medical diplomas granted otherwise would soon be invalid. Ida decided to upgrade her medical school to a medical college, the Christian Medical College.
In the year 1945, a Laboratory Technician training course was started. In 1946 a college of nursing, India’s first, was started. In 1947, the first batch of men medical students were admitted. Medical Postgraduate Courses were started in 1950. In 1969 Postgraduate degree courses in nursing were started.
The college now offers nearly 150 different post graduate courses in the medical, nursing and allied health disciplines. A total of nearly 2000 students are enrolled every year. The hospital serves over 2000 inpatients and 5000 outpatients daily, with 67 wards, 92 clinics and 121 departments/units. Each year 100 students are admitted for the undergraduate medical course.
For their centennial anniversary, CMC built a new Women’s and Children’s hospital for which IPC contributed $25,000 to construct the Children’s intensive care unit. That intensive care unit was the first such built on the sub-continent and continues to be an import part of the medical services of CMC Vellore today.
Our Mission of the Month for June is to continue our 40 year history of support to the Christian Medical College of Vellore. The money we collect this year will be used to help fund a scholarship to provide training for a village nurse who will then be able to take her skills back to her home village. An annual scholarship to provide such training is approximately €1000. Each trained village nurse is committed to return to her home village to provide the sorely needed health care in the most remote parts of India.
On behalf of the IPC Missions Team, thanks for taking the time to learn more about this incredible mission…and thanks for helping us be a blessing in the world!