Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 64(4) November 2014


The work of the Catholic Medical Missionary Society, an update

CMMS LogoThe Catholic Medical Missionary Society continues to disburse about £6000 of the money donated by CMA members either at meetings or by Banker’s Order.

We continue to be regularly involved in two projects, one in Bosnia Herzegovina and the other in Western Cambodia. Some other requests have also come from missions that we have previously assisted. Although ideally we would prefer to make one-off donations and so spread our limited help as widely as possible, the nature of these two projects makes it very difficult for us to refuse further help.

A description of these two is found on the CMA website, but I enclose letters from each.

In this first letter, Sr. Jane Dowd, St Luke’s Home Care, Bosnia Herzegovina who founded and now runs the only district nursing service, describes several different clinical situations:

“Ivan is very sick with active tuberculosis. No income, he lives alone in one room without plumbing or electricity, not even a bed. A good neighbour has linked him up to his own supply so that he has light. We got him a bed and bedding, also a cylinder for his gas ring. We provide flour, oil, pasta, milk and cheese so that he could have a better diet. Good neighbours have brought potatoes and greens. We are monitoring his condition – blood sugar, blood pressure – and attending to his medication. Ivan is only one of the very vulnerable people we are assisting.”
“Suzanna has epilepsy. A husband, Perot, traumatised as a result of the war, is suffering from a large tumour on his neck that requires attention. They live with Perot’s brother, Granny who has a fractured wrist and is very sick, and their four children, one of whom has special needs. The children and Granny sleep on makeshift settees. As nobody works, there is no income. Sadly the new mattresses we provided were destroyed when the roof came down under the weight of heavy snow. Three years on the roof is still in need of repair. We continue to provide them with food, wood, shoes and clothes as well. And we see to their medication.”
“Kristijan was born with Down’s Syndrome and spina bifida. He is now three and makes no effort to walk or speak while we await the surgeon’s decision on another operation. His granny has had surgery for a spinal cyst and we attend her three times weekly to apply dressings. There is no income in this family so we are helping where we can. We buy all Kristijan’s special food and nappies.”
“We are encountering several more families whose poverty is such that we buy basic food and clothes for them. In one family the mother is sick and, unusually, her small child has muscular dystrophy. Their situation is not helped by the fact that nobody in the family can work.
“More and more families are in need. The nurses are great in carrying out the work that has to be done.”


A typical one room dwelling of the elderly in Bosnia-Herzegovina

The second letter is from Fr Rajat who is the parish priest in Svai Sisaphon, Cambodia. For the last 5 years the parish has been running a support project to help with the basic care of AIDS victims in the provincial (poor) hospital in Svai.

“Loving greetings from St. Francis Xavier's Church Svay Sisophon, Cambodia.
Thank you very much for your email and sorry for the delay in replying. I just want to send you about the way we spent money donated by CMMS. The Church prepare everyday from Monday to Saturday special dish for the patients according to their needs; sometimes meat, sometimes fish sometimes vegetable, dessert etc. The average number of patients helped by the Church is 350 patients every month. We spend per day 10 dollars a day and 60 Dollars a week. Therefore, the average expense of every month is 290 Dollars for food and 50 Dollars for the salary. Therefore, we spend per month 340 Dollars. On the occasion of Christmas, Easter and Khmer New year we prepare some gifts packets and special food for the patients.
The main purpose of the this project is to help those patients who are very poor and for those who do not have anybody to help them. Some of the patients are just neglected and thrown out by the family members. Some of them are in advance case and they have to stay in the hospital for a long time for treatment. But the situation is getting better. Many patients go for early treatment. Therefore, they just come to hospital to collect the medicine once in month and go back home. But for some patients there is no one and the help of the Church becomes more relevant.
Your donation is reaching out to most needy HIV/AIDS patients in the provincial hospital. In fact those who are economically better off they prefer to go to other hospitals but the poorer and the neglected people have no choice but come to the provincial hospital for medicine and treatment. Therefore, your donation is very useful for the poor patients. Therefore, I request you to continue to support this project. Now we need some more money to continue the project.”
AIS pts

AIDS patients being visited by Svai parish visitor with provisions in Svai Sisaphon, Western Cambodia.

This year we have sent the following to various areas of extreme need around the world:

St Luke’s Home Care, Bosnia-Herzegovenia £500
Fr Rajat (via Fr Mark) Cambodia. £2000
Dr. Jos Thaliath, India. £500
Monastry of the Holy Church, Uganda. £500
Do Good Charity (St John of God) £500
Fr. N. Balachandra, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA to conduct medical camps in the villages of Cuddapah and provide medicines to the poor and sick. £500
Grief to Grace Project . Fr Dominic Allain £1000
Total so far £5,500


The CMMS is also sending money to support local services during the Ebola crisis in West Africa

Dr Robert Hardie (Chairman), Dr Steve Brennan (Secretary)