Bangladesh Church to open hospital for poor

It will be the first church-run hospital in Dhaka since the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Church to open hospital for poor

Italian missionary Sister Roberta Pignone of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate talks to a patient at Damian House in Khulna district of southern Bangladesh on Aug. 9, 2017. The Catholic Church will open a new hospital in Dhaka to serve the poor. (Photo by Stephan Uttom/ 

The Catholic Church in Bangladesh will open a new hospital in capital Dhaka to serve poor and marginalized people.

The 20-bed St. John Vianney Hospital near the Holy Rosary Catholic Church at Tejgaon, central Dhaka, will open in November.

“The Church does not have any hospitals in Dhaka where there are many poor seeking medical help but who are often exploited in hospitals psychologically and monetarily,” Father Kamal Corraya, the hospital’s executive director, told

The hospital will one day have 200 beds and offer a broader range of medical services, the priest said.

Dr. Edward Pallab Rozario, former secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Healthcare Commission, said that Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka formed a seven-member team to establish the new hospital.

“This hospital is an initiative of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh and funded by the Dhaka Archdiocese,” Rozario, head of health projects at Caritas Bangladesh, told

As part of knowledge gathering for St. John Vianney Hospital, the team visited various church-run hospitals in neighboring India last month, said Rozario.

“This hospital is a charity and most patients will have to pay a token fee. It will offer free services to those extremely poor people who are unable to pay anything,” he added.

In 1953, the U.S.-based Congregation of Medical Mission Sisters and Associates established Holy Family Hospital in Dhaka. It was a well-respected hospital that offered medical services to people of all classes.

During the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, the nuns decided to leave the country and handed over the hospital to local church authorities.

Lack of funds and skilled personnel forced church authorities to hand over the hospital to the government after the war ended, and then it was entrusted to Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.

Since then, the hospital has been renamed the Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College and Hospital.      

There are only about 600,000 Christians in Muslim-majority Bangladesh's population of more than 160 million. Most Christians are Catholics and they are spread across eight Catholic dioceses.

Despite being such a small minority, Christians are held in high regard for their contributions in the fields of education, health and development work among poor and marginalized communities.

The Church in Bangladesh runs four hospitals and 66 health clinics and medical dispensaries, most of them providing low-cost services to people in rural areas.

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