Sri Amit Shah, Hon’ble Minister of Home Affairs, Govt of India, was the Chief Guest at the Silver Jubilee Celebrations and expressed that Amma has taught the art of giving to the world.
In 1998, Amma opened the doors to Amrita Hospital, Kochi, with a mission to provide care to people too poor to see a doctor. This came after growing up in a fishing village where she all too often saw people in agonising pain because they could not afford even simple medical treatment. However, Amma’s vision also reached beyond that scenario. She had the purpose to make high-quality, innovative healthcare affordable to all people, especially the middle class.
What began as a 115-bed facility 25 years ago has grown to a 1350 bed super-speciality tertiary healthcare centre. The hospital has an attached medical school and as of 2023, it is rated as the country’s sixth best medical college by the Govt of India. Amrita Hospital’s work includes travel to rural and isolated areas to hold medical camps in villages with no other access to health services.
For Amma, Amrita Hospital’s foundation is laid upon the stone of compassion. In its 25 years, it has provided ₹816 crore (US $105 million) for free treatment that has reached 5.9 million people living in poverty. Overall, the hospital has successfully treated 1.96 crore (10.96 million) patients with a steadfast belief in delivering exceptional healthcare services rather than focusing solely on quantity.
“All these years, the doctors, nurses, and all others have served sincerely and with total dedication. Words are insufficient to express my gratitude to them. Disease brings an intense state of sorrow. Patients deserve to be cared for with utmost patience and love. A hospital is their place of refuge, solace, and hope,” said Amma in her video address at the Silver Jubilee Celebrations in Kochi.
“For a patient, the doctor is God in human form, as are the nurses and paramedics. It is a blessing to be able to bring solace to someone in pain. This is why doctors who serve in the hospital, the nurses and others should smile with their heart. They have their own personal family responsibilities. Still, it would be good if we could forget that and have the attitude that we are consoling our own child when dealing with each patient.”
Amma concluded, “We have a responsibility towards this world and to all living beings in it. The value of life is decided not by what we have gained but by what we have been able to give. If we can give joy to at least one being for even one moment, our life is fulfilled to that extent.”
The Silver Jubilee Celebrations began with a grand event attended by Sri Amit Shah, Hon’ble Minister of Home Affairs, Govt of India; Smt Veena George, Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of Kerala; Sri P Prasad, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, Govt of Kerala; Sri Hibi Eden, Member of Parliament from Ernakulam; Sri M Anilkumar, Mayor of Kochi; Sri TJ Vinod, MLA; Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Vice Chair of Mata Amritanandamayi Math; Dr Prem Nair, Group Medical Director, Amrita Hospitals, and other dignitaries.
“Every time I meet Amma, I return invigorated with new energy and consciousness. Like me, four crore people have received her love and blessings in the last five decades. I am glad and honoured to acknowledge her good work for the entire humanity. She has made an immense contribution in creating appreciation for India’s rich spiritual culture and traditions,” said Sri Amit Shah as the Chief Guest.
“Amma has taught the art of giving to the world. Even after 50 years of serving crores of people, her humility is striking. Amma’s ashram built 1200 houses in Gujarat after the 2001 earthquake. Those villages are locally called Amma’s villages, so much is the gratitude of the people for the help provided by her in their hour of need.”
About the hospital he said, “Amrita Hospital, Kochi is now counted among the world’s best. Apart from service to the poor, where it has treated lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of patients for free, the hospital also has an impressive record in medical excellence and research, with several firsts to its credit such as India’s first micro blood stem cell transplantation, India’s first hospital to do the largest number of high-precision robotic liver transplants, and setting up India’s first 3D printing lab.”
As part of the event, Sri Amit Shah inaugurated two new state-of-the-art research centres, with the first spanning 1.85 lakh sq ft (185,000)at Amrita University, Amritapuri Campus, and a second covering 96,000 sq ft adjacent to Amrita Hospital, Kochi.
The expansion will advance the hospital’s existing research programs with a focus on genomics, nanotechnology, informatics, and cell biology. The new centres are intended to make the latest in medical treatment accessible to society at large by integrating high-quality research domains and translating them into affordable products that will build sustainable and resilient communities.
Smt Veena George also addressed the gathering with an emphasis upon how Amrita Hospital’s participation and cooperation in government health schemes are a ‘hridayam’ (compassionate heart) that cannot be ignored, having healed lakhs (hundreds of thousands)of other hearts. Known for its compassion in the realm of medical treatment, it is among the private hospitals most supported by the government.
“Amrita Hospital’s decision to provide free treatment to many more people as part of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations is exemplary. It has completed 25 years of excellence and behind this triumph is the dedicated effort of many people. The hospital has also achieved success in the field of volunteering and this is due to a vision of love, tenderness and compassion. Alongside this, is the research done at the hospital and this is needed to make breakthroughs in every field,” Kerala’s Health Minister said.
In his address, Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri said, “Today, as we celebrate 25 years of compassion, integrity, and transformative healing, we express our gratitude to our dedicated medical, paramedical, and non-medical staff who have tirelessly served our patients. Amrita Hospital has successfully treated a remarkable 1.96 crore patients so far, and now our goal is to reach an astounding 5 crore (50 million) people.
“At Amrita Hospital, our unwavering belief is that healthcare should be accessible to all, regardless of financial constraints. As we embark on the next phase of our journey, we carry with us the legacy of Amma, a beacon of compassion, and reaffirm our dedication to our mission of transformative healing for everyone.”
Dr Prem Nair added, “I thank everyone who has led us up to this moment: 25 years of achieving the impossible. I find myself still filled with wonder at this expansive campus. Today, I feel the sacrifice and love that has gone into each brick as well as each dust particle in this campus.”
Amrita Hospital, Kochi, was inaugurated on May 17, 1998, by the former Prime Minister, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Over the last 25 years, the hospital has achieved numerous milestones, spearheaded innovations, and embraced technological advancements, enabling the provision of high quality healthcare to all.