“If Choithram is a charity hospital why is it so expensive to an extent that it is mainly accessed by the rich?” an Abacha street trader curiously asked.
It can be recalled that few days ago, the Honourable Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu visited Sierra Leone and announced major areas of support to Sierra Leone that will impact economic development in the immediate future.
After his departure, a government press statement explaining the vice president’s visit states among other things that the Indian Vice President was expected to meet among other distinguished personalities, “the Indian Community in Sierra Leone and a visit to the Choithram Charity Hospital”.
The term, ‘Charity Hospital’ shocked many Sierra Leoneans, especially those who have used the facilities of the said hospital and were primed off hundreds of United States dollars in bills for the services they acquired.
According to the Oxford dictionary, a charity hospital is a non-profit hospital that provides treatment for poor and uninsured people who cannot purchase treatment.
Responding, the management of Choithram Hospital yesterday stated that the hospital is a trust, run by the Choithram International Foundation. They said the hospital has been providing regular services at discounted price or free of cost to the deserving and poor patients, adding further that other patients pay the normal cost.
During the Indian vice president’s visit, the management went on it was erroneously mentioned as Choithram Charity Hospital instead of Choithram Memorial Hospital in some sections of the media.
However, the Hospital’s management has expressed regret to the wrong mention of the name of the hospital.
However, it is worthy to note that the Choithram Hospital endeavoring to provide Comprehensive Medicare to the residents of Sierra Leone since 1993.
The journey from the inception till date withered many a storms to reach to this envious position of the most trusted healthcare provider in the country.
Seth Shri Thakurdas Choithram Pagarani came to Sierra Leone in 1938, and started his own business in 1944 under the name T. Choithram & Sons in a small way. With his acumen and Midas touch, the business expanded not only in this country but to other parts of the World as well. T. Choithram & Sons now operates in 27 countries.
He was a great Philanthropist and believed in returning, a large portion of his earnings to the Society, in the form of Education and Medical facilities. He desired to provide an ultramodern Hospital in Freetown, to serve the local populace, as an affordable referral Hospital.
Upholding his desire, commencement of construction work of Choithram Memorial Hospital (CMH) started in 1994 and got finished in 1997. Due to political instability from 1997 to 1999, the Hospital could not be opened for public.
Moreover the hospital was targeted by miscreants and was vandalized by setting fire to vehicles and equipment. The Hospital was redone in the year 2000 and handed over to United Nations Peace Keeping Forces (UNPKF), free of charge, on the condition that medical facilities shall be provided to local population as well.
UNPKF worked alongside CMH Doctors till the end of 2005.
In January 2006, management of CMH took over the complete control of the hospital and has since been operating very successfully with a team of Medical Experts drawn from various nations like Sierra Leone, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria, etc.