Sharon Glynne – An Insight into Hospital and Medical Services in Karigiri

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Sharon Glynne (Navan parish), the only member of the group who had medical training as a nurse, had unique insight into the Karigiri hospital services and medical training services.  She was particularly struck by the many lessons the Irish Health Service had to learn from Karagiri!


It is with high regard and admiration that one Irishman Wellesley Bailey has had such an impact on Leprosy in the world and as a direct result we now have the world-renowned Karigiri Hospital.

Karigiri is part of the Schieffelin Institute of Health-Research and Leprosy Centre and it has brought to us a learning culture within a cost effective budget. It demonstrated that a wide range programmes can be facilitated in the developing world. It was clear on our visit to Karigiri the positive  impact that this Hospital and these programmes has had on the Community and the people for which it serves. The bed capacity is 150 in addition to out-patients facilities for up to 500 patients.

The institute commenced as a Leprosy Research establishment and from its inception has been recognized by the Government of Tamil Nadu, Government of India and World Health Organization. It  offers both in-patient and out-patient quality care in the areas of General Medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ortho, Paediatrics, ENT Surgery, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Community Health, Dental, Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology.  It has a well-equipped Laboratory undertaking most common investigations and some sophisticated tests in addition to drug testing on mice.  It has X-ray and Ultra-sound facilities.   A Prosthetics and Orthotics division provides customized special aids for persons with anaesthetic extremities, including Diabetes and Leprosy.  A state-of-the-art Rubber Mill manufactures special grade Micro-Cellular Rubber for use in these specialized foot-wear requirements.

Patients visit Karigiri for many other Medical conditions as well as for the treatment of Leprosy.  The services and care offered by Karigiri  far exceeded my expectations and it is unexplainable how well the Staff of the Hospital encompassed the whole person and their families rather than just the condition. The Pastoral care for Patients, Families and Staff was exceptional.

The support, both Social and Psychological care, did not end the day the Patient was discharged, but was an ongoing process which addressed fear and stigma, treatment adherence and one which appeared to be lifelong in many cases. Children of leprosy sufferers were given opportunities of education and life skill programmes.

It was evident and encouraging to see that Pastoral and Spiritual care played a significant part in the Hospital for both Patients and Staff.


Below I have listed the medical training courses available at Karigiri some of which fall under the auspices of the college of health sciences and are accredited by the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University.

DIPLOMA AND DEGREE IN GENERAL NURSING AND MIDWIFERY: The Karigiri School of Nursing facilitates a diploma and a degree in Nursing and Midwifery and was established because Karigiri was recognised as a leader in the management and care of persons affected by leprosy.  It only began as a recognised training school in 2001 and appears to be the perfect mix of practical and academic studies. The Nursing students live on-site and courses are recognized by the Christian Medical Association of India, Government of India and degree courses by the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University.





DIABETES CARE AND PODIATRY EDUCATION: At the end of the course, the student will receive a DIPLOMA IN PODIATRY.


B.Sc.,(Medical Laboratory Technology) also Higher education: MSc (MLT),

B.Sc. (Physician Assistant): This is a relatively new course in Ireland yet up and running in India for over 5 years. The course trains students to become efficient assistants, capable of providing excellent support to Medical Personnel (Physicians and Surgeons). Students are trained in various non invasive patient care related procedures. 

B.Sc.,(Radio Diagnosis Technology)

B.Sc. (Medical Record Science)

B.Sc. (OPTOMETRY) also Higher education: MSc (Optometry) & MBA, PhD.

B.Sc. (Prosthetics and Orthotics) Higher education: MSc (P&O), PhD: The course trains students to become competent to undertake examination, prescription, design, fabrication and fitting of artificial limbs (Prosthetics) and assistive devices such as callipers for persons with polio, and splints for a variety of neuro-muscular skeletal disorders (Orthotics).  They are trained to supervise and manage the workshop.

B.Sc. (Medical Sociology) Higher education: MSc (Med. Sociology), and PhD: The course trains students to become professionals in the field of health system and health policies enabling them to contribute to the holistic care of patients.  The trainees get exposure in the field of social, community, psychological and preventive aspect of diseases which helps them to work in a team setting to improve health systems. Medical Sociology as a field, interacts with Science and Technology studies and social epistemology.


It was a most worthwhile experience to witness the work that was carried out with the utmost care, compassion and sensitivity at the Karigiri Hospital.