On Calvary Temple’s sprawling campus in Hafeezpet in west Hyderabad, next to its imposing church, a 300-bed Covid care centre has been set up for patients who cannot afford medical treatment elsewhere. With the help of staff from two hospitals in the city—Ankura and St Theresa—the centre admits patients from both Telugu states, providing round-the-clock Covid care.

Brother P. Sathish Kumar, founder-head of the Calvary Temple, decided to develop the centre to ensure that those in extreme need would have some support. The facility has 50 oxygen beds and 250 non-oxygen beds, with treatment, medicines and food being provided free of cost. “For a daily wager like me, such a health centre is the only hope,” says Sunita, 38, a daily wager. Hailing from Suryapet in Telangana, the mother of three has spent a week at the care centre, and expects to be discharged in the next few days. “Medical services elsewhere are not affordable.” Paul Kumar, 30, a bank employee from Mancherial in north Telangana, who has been admitted to the centre along with his wife, adds, “Quality health care is beyond our reach at all times. The medical attention and nutritious food, including dry fruits, that we are getting here for free is of immense help.”

The church decided to set up the centre after reviewing the lessons learned from the first wave of the pandemic. At the time, hundreds of volunteers from Calvary Temple had reached out to 40,000 families across the two Telugu states, providing each with a month’s supply of food and essential groceries for a family of four. However, providing medical attention had posed a serious challenge. This year, in the face of the state’s medical facilities being overwhelmed, Brother Kumar decided in April to set up a care centre on the church campus, opening it on May 10. “We know Covid-19 is a contagious disease, but to save lives we transformed Calvary Temple into a Covid care centre,” he says. All its seven branch churches in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are also being converted into Covid Care Centres.

Calvary Temple also cooks about 10,000 meals every Sunday for poor members of its congregation, as well as providing medical prescriptions at half price to them. For the long term, the church authorities are exploring the prospects of opening a hospital of their own.

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