St Joseph's Leprosy Hospital

The St. Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital, a unit of Father Muller’s Charitable Institutions completed 126 years of its service to those suffering from leprosy. Fr. Augustus Muller, S J started an asylum for leprosy patients in 1890 where they were helped to live with human dignity, of which they were deprived, and allowed to reach peacefully their heavenly abode when God called them.

The St. Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital, a unit of Father Muller’s Charitable Institutions completed 126 years of its service to those suffering from leprosy. Fr. Augustus Muller, S J started an asylum for leprosy patients in 1890 where they were helped to live with human dignity, of which they were deprived, and allowed to reach peacefully their heavenly abode when God called them.

The real boost came with the arrival of Swiss doctors on the scene. They belonged to a very enthusiastic world famous agency, Swiss Emmaus, working very hard for the eradication of this disease. In 1962 Dr C Heinz took charge as the Superintendent, after completing his training in leprosy and reconstructive surgery at Vellore. There was an all – round development in the various aspects like improvement of medical services, reconstructive surgery, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation services, socio – medical services and field activities like epidemiological survey, case detection, treatment and health education activities being given a great deal of importance.

In order to detect leprosy cases, field work was also undertaken ie S.E.T (Survey, Education and Treatment) programme. After Heinz, Dr.Wintsch, Dr. V P Macaden and Dr (Mrs) S E Macaden continued the service till December 1969.

In 1970 Dr.Sr Immaculate Rodriguez took charge as the Superintendent of St. Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital. The religious sisters of Sisters of Charity have served the St.Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital one after the other till today.

Under the National Leprosy Eradication (NLEA)an area of one lakh population spread over 14 villages, coming under the jurisdiction of Ullal PHC, was taken up as SET (Survey, Education and Treatment) Centre in March 1986. This programme progressed so well for 17 years that the prevalence rate of leprosy was brought to less than one per 10,000 population which is considered as the “elimination” point. With this target being achieved, the programme was wound up. The activities include out patient treatment, treatment of hospitalized patients, organizing rural clinics, school health programme,reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation and other welfare activities for the benefit of the patients.

1990 was the turning point in the history of St. Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital as it celebrated its centenary. The Government of Karnataka gave permission to start Post graduation (PG) course in Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, affiliated to Mangalore University in 1991 considering the services rendered by the hospital . Late Prof.J.NShetty as the Head of the Department, the MD course was inaugurated in 1991. This PG course in Dermatology served as a forerunner to the stupendous growth of the institution in the educational field, because the following year saw seven other PG courses commenced in the various other disciplines of Medicine. Needless to say that this made the task easy for the establishment of the Prestigious Fr. Muller Medical College in 1999.

Dr. Nanda Kishore B, Dr. Ganesh Kamath, Dr. Ramesh Bhat M, Dr Sukumar D, Dr.Jacintha Martis and others continue this work at the Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital till today.

Reconstructive surgery was the speciality of St. Joseph Leprosy Hospital as ours was the one among the only two centers where this kind of surgeries were being performed in Karnataka, the other being a Leprosy Hospital, in Hubli.

Today the St. Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital has a shoe workshop, physiotherapy, laboratory, reconstructive surgical facilities,training programme and a leprosy control programme. Sr. Aileen MathiasChief Nursing Office is presently the Incharge of SJLH. It is not the merit of any single person if the work proceeds smoothly and efficiently but the credit goes to the TEAM spirit of all those who served this hospital for a noble cause.

With a record of a century of service and sacrifice and with a deep concern for humanitarian causes, this institution known for the meticulous care of its patients and compassion bestowed on them, has become a hallmark of comfort to suffering humanity.