Annual Supporters’ Meeting

The Friends of Vellore UK Annual Supporters Meeting is taking place this Saturday 12th September 2020 from 11:00am to 12:30pm in the form of a Zoom webinar.

We are delighted that Dr JV Peter, Director of CMC and Dr Shantidani Minz, Head of CMC’s Rural Unit of Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA) will both be presenting to us. Dr JV Peter will speak about how Coronavirus is impacting CMC and also update us on their major developments. Dr Shantidani Minz will tell us about the work of RUHSA and our projects there. Friends of Vellore UK, through the Vellore Rural Community Trust, fund several projects at RUHSA including four elderly welfare centres, the Pachaikilli children’s play centre, a child development initiative and a project aimed at reducing suicide rates amongst adolescents.

If you would like to attend, you need to register for the webinar here.
(Only one person per household will need to register if you will be sharing a screen.)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Help CMC as they battle with Coronavirus

Nearly 10,000 patients make their way each day from all over India to the non-profit Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, Southern India, for top-level care, provided at a subsidized rate or at no cost to poor people. Now, CMC’s dedicated doctors, nurses and allied health professionals are in urgent need of our help. India’s Covid-19 cases are currently the third highest in the world. With infection rates growing, CMC is under huge strain as it tries try to make room for all the patients, covering the costs of those who can’t afford to pay, whilst ensuring their staff are supplied with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

CMC desperately need funds for:

ICU equipment – currently all CMC’s ICU beds are full; they have more than 60 ICU beds nearing completion in the new hospital at Kannigapuram, but these will need monitors, syringe pumps and ventilators.

Funds for providing subsidies for patient care. Most of the COVID positive patients admitted, cannot afford the cost of their care. So far, CMC has set aside about 520 beds for COVID Isolation, which are about 80% full now. Several hundred more beds will be made ready over the next few weeks in the new hospital. 24 hours of care (including bed, nursing, doctors’ fees, food and basic medications) costs around £80. A patient in ICU costs over £300 for 24 hours.

PPE – costing CMC nearly £300,000 a month. PPE is needed for all procedures and interactions with patients, not just those with COVID. CMC’s healthcare professionals on the front lines are bravely risking their lives.

Please join us in raising funds to buy ICU equipment, PPE for staff and to cover the cost of care for those patients who cannot afford it. No amount is too small. Donate here!

Your donation will be sent to CMC Vellore, India, via the Friends of Vellore UK. Thank you so much for your support.

Messengers of Peace

Messengers of Peace

As the COVID19 pandemic rages around us, medical teams all over the world bravely offer vital care for sick patients. ‘Messengers of Peace’ is a rare glimpse into the personal stories of CMC’s doctors, nurses and medical support teams.

Watch the video and download your copy of ‘Messengers of Peace’ today.

In addition to caring for patients in hospital, CMC’s community health teams have been ensuring that chronic patients get their medicines on time and that vulnerable groups in the surrounding village communities are cared for.

The Low Cost Effective Care Unit (LCECU) has been supporting urban slum communities not only with medical care, but also partnering with local NGOs to provide food for the hungry.

Help CMC prepare for Coronavirus

With the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, CMC Vellore is committed to serving and caring for their patients with the best professional care. In this unprecedented crisis, they are seeking our support to face the challenges that lie ahead.

CMC is making preparations in case of large numbers of seriously ill patients needing isolation and high-level support. They are trying to buy ICU ventilators and protective equipment, although prices for these have skyrocketed.

This additional expense comes at a time when their income is down, because fewer patients want to travel or come into hospital unless their need is acute, and border closures mean that international patients are very low.

CMC are urgently setting up 137 beds in their upcoming Orthopaedic block, including a 12-bed Intensive Care Unit, to face the expected surge.

Ways YOU can help in this emergency:

Friends of Vellore UK want to send funds to cover the cost of one bed in the new Intensive Care Unit for Coronavirus patients. After the virus has passed, the equipment will be used at the new Kannigapuram hospital site. The cost of kitting out one bed with a ventilator (£14,800) and all other associated equipment is £31,400. Could you help us raise some of this to enable CMC to save precious lives? Any amount you can give would be much appreciated. Details of how to make a donation are here, please put COVID19 in the reference.

Please pray for the Director, Dr J V Peter and the administration team who have tough decisions to make and are facing many pressures. Pray for the hospital staff and students, especially those who will be on the front line if CMC starts to receive large numbers of infected people. Pray also for local people who may lose their livelihoods as a result of the lockdown.

Maitri 2020

Please join with us in praying for the work of CMC.

The latest edition of Maitri for 2020 is now available to download.  Maitri is produced by the chaplaincy team at CMC.  It has Bible reflections and suggested areas for prayer for each week of the year.  If you would like to be added to an email list to receive this on a weekly basis, please indicate this on the consent form here.

Maitri 2020


Sustainable farming, an effective poverty reduction strategy

Today is Giving Tuesday. As you spend money on gifts for others, please consider donating some money to bless those who are much less fortunate than we are.

Today we are particularly seeking donations for our sustainable farming project that you can read more about on page 10 of the newsletter. This project seeks to reduce poverty amongst small and marginal farmers by promoting sustainable farming methods which improve crop productivity and increase farmers’ living standards.

In India, irregular rainfall, poor soil fertility, low income and debt make agriculture an unsustainable livelihood for farmers. The use of chemical fertilizers and lack of innovative water management have also increased expenses and affected productivity. Small and marginal farmers are often forced to work as daily labourers in order to make a living.

Groups of marginal farmers are given interest free loans provided through the project which enable them to purchase high milk yielding cows. The farmers benefit from the sale of milk and pay back the loan through easy instalments without interest.

Mr Manogaran from B N Palyam Farmers Club

The project will promote organic farming by educating farmers on cost-effective organic farming methods. Simple methods of converting locally available organic ingredients into effective fertilizers and pesticides are demonstrated so they can be implemented and replicated.

Organic farming methods training at Latteri

We need to raise £4000 in order to fund this project. If you would like to contribute, details of how to donate are here.

Autumn 2019 Newsletter

We have just published our Autumn 2019 newsletter.  View it here:

Friends of Vellore Autumn Newsletter 2019

If you are not on our mailing list and would like your details to be added to this, to receive this newsletter and future issues by post, please complete this form here.

Give the gift of sight on World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day. India is set to emerge as the diabetic capital of the world – by 2030 it is estimated there will be 79.4 million diabetics in India, the largest number in any nation. Diabetic retinopathy is a blinding complication of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. However, blindness due to diabetic retinopathy can be prevented by regular screening and timely intervention.

CMC’s department of Ophthalmology is dedicated to the screening, prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Their outreach team travels to rural areas surrounding Vellore, screening all diabetics presenting for eye care either using a fundus camera and tele-screening or by fundus examination.

An optometrist examines a patient using a fundus camera

However, the numbers they are able to screen by this method are low and confined to those presenting themselves. Moreover, patients requiring treatment need to travel to CMC’s hospital in Vellore, sometimes for several visits which means those on minimal wages who cannot afford the time off work or the cost of travel, do not receive treatment.

Friends of Vellore UK are raising funds to help CMC buy a mobile ophthalmic unit. This unit will address both issues of poor access and follow up. It will make screening accessible to much larger numbers and enable laser treatment on the spot for those requiring it. Apart from diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment the mobile unit will be used for screening for all eye disease in children and adults in areas with poor access. You can donate to this project here.

CMC’s ophthalmology team view a mobile eye unit