By Our Reporter
Shillong: When it concerns the history of the health scenario in Meghalaya, it is enlightening to remember the contributions of the Goenka family, which was instrumental in establishing one of the earliest maternity and children hospital of the North Eastern region.
It might have taken all of 77 years to honour the contributions of the Goenka family but nevertheless, their contribution to the State and region as a whole was celebrated with the unveiling of a bust of (L) GD Goenka at the Ganesh Das Hospital at Lawmali here on Monday.
Since 1935 the hospital has come a long way – from 32 beds to around 330 today where on an average 25-30 deliveries take place every day.
Narrating the history of the hospital, Ganesh Das’s grandson Shankar Lal Goenka said the British administrators at that time were struck with the lack of health care facilities in this part of the country.
“Accordingly, they started looking for donors and that was when my father, late Jeevan Ram Goenka (Ganesh Das’s son) came forward to his cause, for which the British administration deemed it fit to name this hospital after my grandfather,” he stated.
The late Jeevan Ram Goenka was the biggest donor in terms of land and money towards the establishment of the hospital.
“On December 3, 1935, the day I was born, the construction work of the hospital was completed and it was named after my grandfather late Ganesh Das Goenka,” Shankar said, adding that the surname Goenka was left out by the then British administrators because it would have been too lengthy a name.
Deputy Chief Minister and in charge Health, Rowell Lyngdoh, after unveiling the bust, said “The family has contributed immensely to the establishment of the hospital during an age of plenty amid poverty”.
They are a family with a “golden heart”, Lyngdoh acknowledged while maintaining that the hospital is among one of the most prestigious in the region.
“Further expansion of the hospital would lead to improvement in services to mothers and children,” Lyngdoh said, while urging the doctors, nurses and paramedical staff of the hospital to use the infrastructure and to serve with dedication.
On the occasion, the Goenka family also donated an ambulance van to the hospital management. The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) also donated ambulances to be delivered to all the districts. The ambulances were flagged-off by the Deputy Chief Minister.