How it began at J Watumull Global Hospital & Research Centre

The founding of this renowned hospital goes back a quarter of a century. In 1989, Dr. Ashok Mehta, eminent head and neck cancer surgeon from Mumbai, visited the Prajapita Bhrama Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya global headquarters in Mt. Abu. It was his patient, Dadi Gulzar, a member of the Brahma Kumaris since its inception in the 1930, who motivated him to visit.

His visit opened his eyes to the world of the Brahma Kumaris and he realised that he deeply related with their principles of service. However, he felt that they needed an outlet/action for the spirituality that they preached. The fact that he himself was a doctor coupled with the backwardness of the Sirohi district (which Mt. Abu belongs to) led him to come up with the idea of setting up a hospital – as a hospital would give them an opportunity to serve the poor directly (spirituality was indirect).

While there was a Government hospital in the area, it functioned as most Government services do. So, the founders envisaged a secondary care hospital that would help bridge the yawning gap in health services in the district. The hospital could also cater to the needs of the Brahma Kumaris themselves (like the Breast Cancer treatment that Dadi Gulzar needed).

In 1991, two years after the initial seeds were sown, the building (what comprises of only the first wing) came up. A modern health facility that practiced holistic healthcare, the hospital’s bed strength of 457 served 700,000 district residents.

Later, Khuba Watumull and Gulab Watumull, of Mumbai and Hawai (USA) respectively, both businessmen who were followers of the Brahma Kumaris , took the project under their wings, and named the initiative J Watumull Global Hospital and Research Center, in memory of their late father.

The hospital’s mission is “to provide world class complete healthcare services, responsibly and with a human touch at affordable prices.” Guidelines followed keeping the mission in mind include:
– providing free consultations to all and free/nominally priced treatment to poor patients
– routinely providing basic health services to village dwellers and helping them access specialist consultations through special screening programmes

The hospital takes its mission seriously. So while it was intended to operate as a cross-subsidiary unit, the larger number of non-paying patients versus paying ones prevents this from happening as intended. But this has not deterred them from offering free/subsidised services. Imbibing principles of the BrahmaKumaris, they simply “give true services, and returns come”.

There is a deficit every year, which is currently being met through donations. So, while operating expenditure is being met, expansion is happening slowly. Besides donations, partial support comes from the Government too – the Government pays one-third of the cost of every free cataract surgery performed (under the National Programme for Control of Blindness).

Till date, Sirohi is one of the poorest districts of India – featuring at number 72 in a list of 100 most poor districts of the country. This only highlights the importance of this uniquely-principled hospital.

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