Makunda Christian Leprosy and General Hospital had its beginnings as Makunda Leprosy Colony in 1950 on 1000 acres of land purchased by the Baptist Mid-Missions, USA. Soon after the hospital started, Dr Gene Burrows, a MD from USA started the work in the leprosy colony in full earnest. Responding to the dire medical needs in the region, he soon converted it into a much needed general hospital.
He contributed to the work at Makunda for nearly 30 years and during his tenure, the hospital was well known for its work among the poor, tea-estates and leprosy patients. The hospital faced a major crisis in the early 1980s, when the Government of India asked all expatriate missionaries to leave the country and the hospital had to be closed for nearly ten years for lack of doctors committed to work in the region.
In 1993, the hospital work was re started under the leadership of Dr Vijay Anand Ismavel and Dr Ann Miriam and the hospital became one of the incorporated units of the Emmanuel Hospital Association, a fellowship of Christian institutions and individuals that exists to transform communities through caring, with a primary emphasis on the poor and the marginalized.
The Makunda Christian Leprosy and General Hospital is an independent charitable society registered in Assam. The hospital is nestled in a remote and predominantly tribal region of Karimganj District, Assam and also strategically located at the junction of the three states of Assam, Tripura and Mizoram. Karimganj district is one of the four Barak valley districts of Lower Assam which are one of the most impoverished districts in India. The rural communities of Lower Assam as well as the neighbouring states of Tripura and Mizoram are strife with poverty and illiteracy.
Data from Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2014-16 reported that rural Karimganj district had a Maternal mortality rate of 281 per 100,000 live births (India 130 per 100,000 live births) and an infant mortality rate of 75 per 1000 live births (India 34 per 1000 live births).
The hospital is located in a tribal area comprising mostly Tripura tribals (Hallam, Chorei, Ranglong, Darlong, etc), Mizos, Manipuris, Bishnupriyas & Khasis as well as a large number of muslims & Hindu Bengalis.Most people cultivate rice, betel nut, fruits, rear chicken & cattle and have fishery ponds.There are also a large number of worker from Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa in several large tea estates in the neighbourhood of the hospital. The tea industry in Assam is in crises as they are unable to compete with other tea producing areas – as a result most of these workers live in sever poverty. The Reang refugees in Tripura are another exploited and poverty riven community that the hospital caters too.
During the year 2017-18, a major milestone was reached in the history of this institution. The hospital celebrated the completion of 25 years since the hospital was restarted – a completely closed down hospital with severe problems was transformed to a thriving community providing high quality care to large numbers of people through its various departments by the Grace of God and the hard work of highly committed staff.