St. Luke’s Medical Guild: Making Healthy Difference

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Muscat, Jan 23: Good health is undoubtedly an invaluable asset in any individual’s life and no effort can be spared to preserve it. Still we find that this asset gets eroded due to many factors. From time immemorial people have been at pains, individually and collectively, to help   those affected by various sicknesses regain their health. For effective service in this field it is quite necessary that the sick person be referred to a specialist and proper guidance given to him.

Unfortunately specialists these days and also the medicines are beyond the means of the common man. Therefore, keeping in mind the words of our Lord, “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did it to me”, St Luke’s Medical Guild, Oman was formed in October 2004 under the leadership of Fr. Chacko Mannaressil, Parish Priest of Holy Spirit Church, Ghala.

The Guild is managed by an elected Executive Committee, and is the first such Catholic Medical Guild in the Arabian Gulf.

The main activities of the Guild are:

? To bring together Catholic doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel working in Oman, to foster fellowship amongst them, and to help them to realize their role in Christ’s healing ministry.

? To provide medical advice to poor people, to guide them on how and where to avail of medical facilities, and wherever possible, to assist them financially in availing investigations, medications and treatment.

? To run free medical clinics and camps for the poor and the needy, irrespective of religion or nationality.

? To hold talks on medical topics for the lay public, and thereby promote health-education and information on healthy lifestyles.

? To discuss medico-ethical issues that are of concern to Catholic healthcare personnel, and to guide them on Christian teachings and moral and spiritual issues related to the practice of medicine and advancements in technology.

The Guild has set up a free medical clinic at the Church premises. This Clinic, inaugurated on the 25th of February 2005 by the Director of Private Health Establishments of the Ministry of Health, provides specialist consultation services for labourers and lowly paid employees in the private sector who cannot afford doctors’ consultation fees, investigations or medicines.

The Clinic is run on the last Friday of every month. The Church has provided six porta-cabins for this purpose, one room of which has been furnished as a permanent consultation cum examination room. Two medical firms have donated medical furniture and diagnostic appliances, while free medical samples have been collected for dispensing to the poor. Over the ten clinic sessions in 2004-05, the Clinic has registered 554 patient visits ? an average of 60 patients per session.

A good number of Catholic Doctors and Nurses, in rotation, run the Clinic on a voluntary basis. The Clinic is financially supported by the Ecumenical Council for Charity (ECC) which so far has borne an expenditure of Rial Omani 880 towards drugs and investigations. ECC has further paid RO 1600 to a private health care facility towards the care of poor patients referred there for hospitalization and work up of major ailments.

The Guild has conducted a series of talks on the Four Pillars of Life and Longevity ? Exercise, Smoking, Obesity and Controlling Diseases of Middle Age.  These interactive one-hour sessions, for the lay public, have been well attended, and have elicited a lot of positive feedback. The next set of talks on Maternal and Child Health issues are planned for the last Friday of the first four months of 2006, after the 9 AM Mass.

The Asian Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, which presently has its secretariat in South Korea, has agreed to affiliate the Guild in Oman. This Asian Federation includes the Catholic medical guilds from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, and is further affiliated to the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. (FIAMC).

The steady increase in the numbers of people being attended to at the clinic as also the large attendance at the talks on current topics of medical interest by experts gives a sense of satisfaction to the members of the Guild and serves also as an encouragement to do more. Towards this end the Guild appreciates any donations from individuals and firms in the form of cash, medical equipment and drugs for the running of this free Clinic.

All those interested to help this worthy cause are requested to contact or send their donations to the following address:

St.Luke’s Medical Guild,
The Parish Priest,
Holy Spirit Church Ghala,
P.O.Box: 371,
Postal code: 115
Madinat Al-Sultan Qaboos,
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Tel: 00968 24590373
Fax: 00968 24502513
E-mail: takes this opportunity to congratulate all the members of the St.Luke’s Medical Guild Oman for the wonderful medical service and guidance that they are rendering to those in need and wishes them the very best for the future.

Author: Melanie- Team – Oman

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