The untimely and tragic demise on March 25, 2017, of Dr KM Shyamprasad, Executive Director of NLHMB and the Chancellor of Martin Luther Christian University, has necessitated changes in the administration. Over the next several months the Trustees have taken several important decisions that have not only enabled a smooth transition but have also set the stage for future vision, strategies and operations of the Trust. The implementation of these decisions is currently in progress and it is anticipated that a smooth transition will be complete by mid-2018. Some of the noteworthy changes are:
- Induction of new Trustees and election of new office bearers
- Review of operations and financial status
- Review of human resources and need/re-deployment for current staff
- Consideration of closure of the old premises and a temporary location
- Appointment of a consultant to review all operational matters and advise the Trustees
The National Lutheran Health and Medical Board (NLHMB) was registered as a charitable public Trust on Dec 23, 2002. The author of the Trust was (the late) Dr A Rajaratnam, then Executive Secretary of the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI).
The UELCI was registered as a Society on April 9, 1981. Article VII (Standing Committees and Boards of the Memorandum of Association of the UELCI provides for the setting up of 11 committees and boards. Among these is the National Lutheran Health and Medical Board (Section 9b). This Section reads, “The Board shall consist of the Heads of the Churches and Chief Medical Officers of the hospitals that are members of this Board. The Executive Council of the UELCI shall appoint the Executive Director of this Board. The Board may have a separate constitution approved by the Executive Council. An Executive Committee and its officers shall be elected by the Board.” (p16)
The separate constitution envisaged for NLHMB in the UELCI MOA was reflected in the setting up of NLHMB as an independent Trust. Thus the NLHMB was created by the UELCI as a separate legal entity, and would hereafter function according to its own Deed of Declaration and Bylaws.
In accordance with the MOA of the UELCI, a chairman, executive director and 10 Trustees were named in the registered Deed of Declaration, and the NLHMB functioned as envisaged by the UELCI in the first few years of its existence. It implemented its objectives by conducting health, medical and educational activities. Many major projects, funded by various agencies, especially in HIV/AIDS, rural development and tsunami relief were carried out.
In 2005, the NLHMB initiated and sponsored the creation of Martin Luther Christian University with the full endorsement of the UELCI. These endorsements of appreciation were seen in the minutes of UELCI meetings and newsletters and in the fact that the UELCI Executive Secretary was a member of the first MLCU Board of Governors and attended several meetings.
Subsequently, relations between the UELCI and NLHMB changed, resulting in a resolution of the UELCI to dissociate from NLHMB. However, the legal status of NLHMB as a registered Trust remains unchanged. According to Clause 11 of the NLHMB Deed of Declaration, the “Trust is irrevocable”, as are all trusts.
So the NLHMB no longer has a relationship with UELCI, its churches or hospitals. Till now, NLHMB has not even framed any bylaws, as its procedures, functioning and meetings were conducted in good faith along the lines of the UELCI parent. However, it has maintained an office, staff and efficient operations throughout and complied with all legal requirements such as submission of annual reports and audited accounts to the Registrar of Trusts.
Its main activity at present is the continuing sponsorship of MLCU. Because of these changed circumstances, it is necessary to reconsider the vision, mission and membership of NLHMB, while preserving the broad objectives of the Trust.
The NLHMB Trustees and office bearers
- Rt Rev Ginkhanmung Zou, Chairman
- Rev Dr Samuel Meshack, Vice chairman
- Dr Glenn Christo Kharkongor, Executive Director
- Dr R Jennifer War, Deputy Executive Director
- Dr Iwamon WJ Laloo, Treasurer
- Ms Patricia M Mukhim
- Mr Toki Blah
- Dr Evarisha Syiem