THE efforts of a Limerick charity have resulted in the purchase of lifesaving surgical equipment for a hospital treating some of the poorest people in Calcutta.
Over €30,000 was raised by Calcutta Calling to provide a laparoscope for the Hope Hospital.
Members of Calcutta Calling, which has strong County Limerick connections, have been visiting the sprawling Indian city for over 10 years and have forged a relationship with the Hope Foundation, founded in 1999 to fight poverty and to “restore basic human rights to the street children of Calcutta”.
The charity runs the Hope Hospital where the laparoscope will be used in theatre.
“It will be used in keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery,” explained Fr Pat Hogan, PP in Southill and whose former parishioners in Bruree and Clarina have been hugely supportive of the work of Calcutta Calling.
The laparoscope complements the work being done at the Hope Hospital with another piece of equipment purchased by Calcutta Calling last year, a C-ARM that is also used in keyhole and micro-surgical procedures. Fr Hogan was among a group, including several from Limerick, who visited Calcutta and the hospital in January
“We asked the question would they always be dependent on fundraising. They do a very good job there where they can treat 60 patients, 90% of them free and 10% charged. They said at the moment we are over 50% self-financing. I thought to myself if every hospital in Ireland was able to say themselves they were over 50% self-financing, wouldn’t it be great. So they charge some of the richer patients and take in all the poorer ones.
“They run a very good operation and the equipment allows them to do more operations for poorer people,” explained Fr Hogan. “We have been going out there for the last 10 or 12 years and because people know that they just donate us money. We have only one fundraiser but the fund it mostly made up from individuals contributing to the fund. When we go out, everybody works.
“While we are a charity, our real aim is to give people the experience of working out there. The money is secondary.
“But we do look at projects we would like to fund like the C-ARM last year. We asked them what their wish list was and they came up with this other piece of machinery the laparoscope and so we said OK.
“We came home and raised the money that made it all possible.”
The Hope Foundation’s founder and honorary director, Maureen Forrest, accepted the donation from Calcutta Calling during her recent visit to Limerick. Ms Forrest founded her charity after a life-changing visit to India in 1999.
Fr Hogan said on behalf of Calcutta Calling that they were “very grateful and conscious of all the generous support” the charity has received in Limerick and elsewhere to improve the health of some of the world’s poorest people.