International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Adams Wylie Memorial Hospital


    Category Leprosarium
    Country India
    Address Bombay, Bombay Presidency
    Current Address Mumbai, Maharashtra


    The Adams Wylie Memorial Hospital

    These words were spoken of the Adams Wylie Hospital on the occasion of its tenth anniversary on July 31,1989. Unfortunately, this lovely old hospital has since been demolished.

    "The real work started when an institution named after the founders i.e. Mr Adams & Mrs Wylie became a reality. Dr Parmanand closed his dispensary at Kalbadevi and applied his mind whole heartedly in the work, with Mrs Wylie assisting him as a matron of the hospital. When the first World War started Mrs Wylie left India leaving the responsibility of running the hospital to Dr Parmanand. From 1902 till his death in 1942 he was the honorary Chief Medical Officer. Then his nephew Dr MJ Parmanand, MD served the cause from 1942 to 1947.

    Since 1947, till recently, Dr Mrs Meerabai N. Phadke, daughter of Dr RN Paramanand, who is now no more, carried on as Honorary Chief Medical Officer. She had to close her private dispensary and spend her energies to raise donations to maintain the hospital.

    Later the hospital came under the possession of the Administrator General and Official Trustee of Govt. of Maharashtra and the City Branch of the Red Cross Society was looking after the management of the Ward and the clinic. A special mention must be made of the fact that one of the wards was meant for poor leprosy patients for many years.

    Services for nearly a century.

    Except for a brief period of one year in 1978-79, when it had to be closed for administrative reasons, the hospital over all these years has served admirably the cause for which it was created namely to tend the poor who are sick, without distinction of caste, creed, community or religion and the solid construction has withstood the ravages of time over 85years. The building with a little renovation is bound to be of use for many years.

    What is more important is that this monument since 1979 has also served the cause of patients with skin diseases and leprosy who are by and large the most neglected among the poor. This humanitarian service is carried out thanks to the management of the ward by the Bombay Leprosy Project, a registered and well recognized organization (headed by the Dy Director of Health Services, Maharashtra State and financially supported by the German Leprosy Relief Association, West Germany). Modern drugs in the treatment of leprosy which require to be given under hospitalized conditions are freely given. Most of the beneficiaries are the poor slum dwellers of Bombay. Perceptible decline in the incidence of the disease is bound to be achieved by this facility offered to the needy subjects in this manner. Physiotherapy is offered to the patients who face the hazard of development of deformities. This may contribute to the reduction in the morbidity due to the disease. Even simple laboratory facilities have been established in the ward.

    Open to all

    When one enters the spotlessly clean ward where 20 patients are nursed, one has a feeling of gratification that the place once hallowed by the presence of immortals like Mr Adams, Mrs Wylie and Dr Parmanand still continues to be the motivating spirit behind the staff. A large number of Out Patients also make use of the clinic run daily by the Bombay City Branch of the Red Cross Society.

    Memorial Hospital by every standard

    The busy Bombay man has hardly the time and inclination to think of the ancient monuments which have for years contributed to safeguard the health of the citizens. The little construction well known BYL Nair Municipal Hospital, with a rich history behind it, is a classical example of this. It is the duty of the citizens to see that the great humanitarian service offered by the hospital for nearly a century is eternally available to the poor and the needy in total fulfillment of the noble desire of the creators of the hospital.

    It may interest the readers to know that a dedicated team of leprosy workers assemble in the hospital in July every year to observe the anniversary of the commencement of inpatient leprosy services. A cross section of the society comprising of professors, teachers, students, lawyers, chartered accountants, office goers and housewives make it a point to visit the hospital on the New Year's Eve every year with flowers, fruits and sweets on cheer up the patients and give them a sense of belonging. In the context of extreme paucity of beds for temporary hospitalization of leprosy patients in the city, the simple but august meeting of the workers to commemorate the tenth anniversary on 31 st July 1989 can indeed be considered a land mark in our fight against leprosy."

    Dr. R Ganapati: Director, Bombay Leprosy Project, Vidnyan Bhavan, 11, VN Purav Marg, Sion – Chunabhatti, BOMBAY 400 022 and Mr SS Naik: Honorary Secretary, Acworth Leprosy Hospital, Society for Research, Rehabilitation & Education in Leprosy, Wadala, BOMBAY 400 031

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