Manipay Green Memorial Hospital notches 165 years
The Green Memorial Hospital which is located in Manipay was founded
in 1847 by Dr Samuel Fiske Green, a young medical graduate from New
York, United States, which was later renamed as Green Memorial Hospital
in his honour. This mission hospital was the first medical school in Sri
Lanka taking in the first students in 1848. Manipay hospital has already
completed more than 165 years and its main objective is to provide
medical service to the surrounding communities. In 1948, the 'century
block' was added, but the conflict which was prevailing for more than 30
years has ravaged what was once a large medical complex, reducing the
hospital to a small dispensary.
In fact, this was the second oldest teaching hospital set up in South
Asia. During its glory days, this hospital served the community with all
medical and surgical departments and was one of the best maternity wards
in the whole island.
When the American Missionaries left Sri Lanka (Ceylon), the Jaffna
Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI) was set up and it took
control of running this hospital. It is run by a board of governors.
Dr Samuel Green was born on October 10, 1822 in America to Mr and Mrs
William E Green. On completion of his school education he joined as a
clerical assistant and due to his inborn talent, he resigned from his
job in 1841 and concentrated in medical studies. He gained a vast
knowledge in medicine and surgery by way of associating with eminent
doctors in America. Thereafter, he joined a prestigious medical college
in America and passed out as a doctor in 1845. In a short period, he got
a job as a surgeon in New York. But, his main aim was to do missionary
work since several Americans were involved in missionary activities in
the spheres of education, religion and even medicine.
In 1819, several American missionaries came to Ceylon and started
several schools, religious organizations and medical activities. In
1820, an American medical specialist by the name of Dr John founded a
medical institution in Pandaththerupu in Jaffna. After a short period Dr
John returned to his native land and Dr Samuel Green took over this
hospital and conducted this medical institution to the greatest
satisfaction of the local community.
In 1846, several American missionaries have gone to India to serve
there, but Dr Samuel Green wanted to serve in Jaffna and commenced his
medical activities in Vaddukoddai in Jaffna. When he started to serve at
Vaddukkodai several patients did not patronize his hospital as Dr Green
belonged to the American missionaries. But, there was a Tamil scholar by
the name of Muthathamby who was suffering from excruciating pain in the
stomach. In fact, he approached several doctors in the village, but they
could not cure his pain. Thereafter the patient, Muthathamby was taken
to Dr Samuel Green and he was completely cured of his sickness.
Realizing this, from that day onwards patients went to Dr Green and
his name and fame spread to all parts of Jaffna peninsula and he was
highly recognised and respected by the people of Jaffna.
Dr Samuel Green's main aim was to teach Western Medicine to
indigenous population and for this purpose he took tremendous effort
combined with dedication, devotion and commitment. Besides, he started
learning Tamil language since he had already mastered English, Latin,
German, French and Greek languages. As such, learning Tamil language was
easy for him and along with this, he thoroughly understood the lifestyle
of the people of Jaffna which immensely helped him to perform his
Western medical books
He also translated several Western medical books into Tamil. In fact,
he commenced his translation work in 1850 and his first book was
'Angathipatham' written by one Dr Kalavin which he completed in 1851.
This translation was highly commended by the Tamil scholars in the
neighbouring countries. In 1855, Dr Samuel Green started teaching
Western medicine in Tamil with great success.
Though Dr Green came to Ceylon to spread his religion, he was also
very much interested in Tamil language. In 1856, he wrote a Tamil book
on gynaecology which brought him fame and glory.
On completion of ten years of medical service in Jaffna, he returned
to his country with his wife. After five years of break, he came to
Ceylon in 1862 with his wife and continued with his medical practice. He
even translated Western medical books into Malayalam. In 1863, the then
government of Ceylon requested him to be in-charge of Jaffna medical
hospital, which he reluctantly accepted.
Dr Samuel Fiske Green, after having served at Vaddukkodai for one
year, shifted his dispensary to Manipay. It was during this period that
Dr Green started publishing leading Western medical works in Tamil. This
was motivated by a desire for indigenousizing Christianity.
He translated books on Human Physiology by Professor Dalton, Human
Anatomy compiled by Gray Horner, Chemistry Practical and Theoretical by
David, Science and Art of Surgery compiled by Erishen and Dornitt and
several other books.
This Manipay Green Memorial Hospital was revived in 2004 by
well-wishers including Anandan Arnold and Dr Jayantha Arnold, consultant
physician and Gastro Enterologist, UK, who subsequently formed the
Friends of Manipay Hospial (FoM), a registered UK Charity. In fact, the
then Bishop Dr Jebanesan should be highly congratulated for revitalizing
this hospital. Indeed, this prestigious medical hospital which was built
in memory of Dr Samuel Green, is in a dilapidated condition now due to
the conflict which prevailed for 30 years. Renovation and refurbishment
should be done.
As such, it will be greatly appreciated if philanthropists and
well-wishers fantastically and fabulously donate to maintain the glory
of this hospital.