Catholic Medical Quarterly

The Journal of the Catholic Medical Association (UK)

Building knowledge. Building faith. Protecting the vulnerable.

Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 62(4) November 2012

The Catholic Medical Missionary Society

Dr. Robert Hardie

photo 1The CMMS (as most CMA members may be aware) is a small independent charity funded entirely by donations made by members of the Catholic Medical Association. It was founded in 1967 by members of the Guild of Catholic Doctors to help relieve poverty and sickness in this country and abroad by channelling its funds directly into known areas of need served by the Catholic Church. Almost all the disbursements are now made to missions and parishes in the developing world although in the past 10 years we have supported the odd project in the developed world (Canada). Our yearly disbursements have been in the region of £4000-£6000 for the last decade. On the whole we rely on being approached by those working in areas of great need who apply to us for financial help. Amazingly, every year, we always just seem to happen to have just enough money to respond to the reasonable requests we receive, and usually furnish them with a £300-£1000 donation per request. However from time to time a CMA member makes a request on behalf of a particular mission after he or she has been out visiting or helping ‘in the field’. We encourage medical students to let us know of any financial help for drugs or equipment that they are or become aware of in the course of taking their ‘electives’ in the developing world. Our AGM is always at the same weekend as the CMA AGM.

Over the years help has been channelled to Catholic missions and parishes in numerous African counties (Uganda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, Kenya and Liberia) as well as such diverse places as Canada, Peru, India, Ecuador, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Yemen, Thailand, Bosnia Herzegovina, Sri Lanka and Iraq. The projects we have funded range from help in the aftermath of the South Asia Tsunami of December 2004 to equipping an entire medical centre for the Poor Clare Sisters in Mbarara, Western Uganda.

Photo 2Over the last year we have assisted financially in several ongoing projects. We have helped to equip and run a community care service that has recently been set up in Bosnia Herzegovina where before there had been no service whatsoever to the elderly who live in scattered villages in abject poverty.

Family help has been seriously eroded by the war in 1993-4 and the emigration of a substantial proportion of the working population to Germany. Several nurses are now funded by a small Catholic charity called St. Luke’s Home Care and are able to visit housebound patients and deal with chronic problems such as severe leg ulcers.

We are also supporting a Jesuit priest in Western Cambodia provide the most basic requirements of all – food, for abandoned AIDS victims while they are hospitalised for bouts of critical illness near his Parish in Svay Sisaphon.

photo3We generally get good feedback on the projects we have supported from those responsible for passing the assistance on. We have from time to time been sent photos showing the work itself. For several years we sent regular donations to Sr. Maresa (Mary-Theresa) a Franciscan Missionary of St. Joseph who at the time was working in slum areas of El Guasmo in Ecuador. At one stage her dispensary was robbed and needed re-stocking. The sisters provided a domiciliary service for elderly and housebound similar to the one we are at present helping in Bosnia Herzegovina.

We obviously welcome all donations but the very best way to contribute is to make a regular gift aided payment. Dr. James Flood (Hon Treasurer CMMS) will provide the necessary Banker’s Standing Order and Gift Aid Forms on request.

You can also donate online via the Catholic Medical Missionary Society page on the CMA website.

For any further details please contact:

Chairman - Dr. Robert Hardie

Secretary - Dr. Steve Brennan

Treasurer - Dr. James Flood

Dr Robert Hardie is president of the CMA and a former GP