Titwala ... is well known for its Mahaganpati temple, which is believed to be the putative site of the hermitage of the sage Kanva, the foster parent of the mythological character, Shakuntala, who was born here. There is a belief that a visit to this temple, and worship of the idol housed in it, resolves marital discords, and unites hearts that love. Which is why this particular Ganesha idol, this temple, and Titwala, attract devotees in large numbers. In spite of its proximity to Mumbai and its famous temple, Titwala did not have good healthcare facilities for its people. This is the story of how it got its first hospital, after a long and difficult struggle by The Creative Group.
The Creative Group was established by group of friends who were born, educated, nurtured, and lived in Titwala and who had known each other since their childhood. They had observed and realized that there was a crying need for proper medical facilities there. One of the members had lost his asthmatic mother due to lack of timely medical help. She died of air-hunger. This avoidable tragedy triggered an idea in the members’ minds: Titwala had to have easy and immediate access to medical care. Whenever emergency medical assistance was required, especially at night, residents had to rush the patient either to a hospital in Kalyan or Mumbai (65 kms away). Titwala did not have any means to even stabilize a patient till s/he got secondary medical attention. The condition of pregnant women, children and old people was pathetic. The friends had always contributed money, time or effort, to help those who needed medical aid.
Later, they formalized their team’s functioning and The Creative Group was registered on 28 October 2000 as a charitable trust under the Public Charitable Trust Act 1950. Its objective was to provide secondary level medical care at affordable rates, in Titwala, through a secondary-care multispecialty hospital.
To begin with, a "no profit no loss" polyclinic was set up in Manda-Titwala. This was possible thanks to many helping hands: Mr. Padmakar Wagh contributed Rs.15000/- for its dental x-ray machine, Mr. Vilas Patil donated his personal computer (PC); when fund-raiser shows were held, Mr. Nilesh Muley single-handedly booked 60 to 70 tickets per show, not a mean job. The initiative was taken by Mr. Vikrant Bapat, who worked as a neuro-technician at the Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, and Mr. Kishore Gavankar who worked as a Scientific Officer in the MPCB. The polyclinic began with seven or eight medical consultants. An ECG machine, donated by Mr. Anil Mahajan, President of the local Giant's Group, was handed over by Mr. Mahale. A nebulizer, an x-ray machine, a dental clinic, a pathology laboratory, a physiotherapy section and a medical store were added on, making it an effectively functional medical unit. A team of educated, committed young people from the neighbouring villages stepped up to make the project viable.
The Creative Group helped anyone in need, anytime. The members had their own professions, jobs and work to do, yet their spared time for this healthcare project. They believed that the smallest mite, the littlest help could make someone happy.
The Ethos of The Creative Group:
The Creative Group, constituted with the blessings and good wishes of the community, comprises members who say: ‘We are living a comfortable life today because of the sacrifices of thousands of revolutionaries and millions of people who participated in the Freedom Movement to support the fight against injustice. They and their families chose to give up their comforts, even their lives, when necessary. Now it’s our turn to honour their sacrifice by contributing to society without selfish motives. We have therefore joined hands together to make a difference in the lives of people.’
Their intention of bringing healthcare to the people of Titwala and surrounding rural villages came to a fruition after long and strenuous effort. Here is an outline of their journey.
The Creative Group’s Activities:
1999 – Video recordings of the local Ganesh Festival decorations were streamed on the local cable network. The first Cardiac Care Camp was organized, under the guidance of Dr. Pawan Kumar (cardio-vascular surgeon, Leelawati Hospital, Bandra, Mumbai) at the Ajit Scanning Facility, Kalyan. Tests like ECG, chest x-ray, stress, and 2D-echocardiography were carried out. Anti-hepatitis-B vaccination was administered to 10 children from economically backward communities. One oxygen cylinder was donated to Maharathi Karna Gymnasium for its ambulance.
2000- In August, again video recordings of the Ganesh Festival decorations were streamed on the local cable network. Vulnerable children were given anti-hepatitis-B vaccines and another oxygen cylinder was donated to the ambulance operated by the Maharathi Karna Gymnasium.
With the experience thus gathered, The Creative Group decided to move forward, to build a multi-specialty hospital in Titwala. The project was an ambitious one and they did not know where or how to begin.
A milestone: they established a ‘polyclinic’ in Titwala, named the ‘Creative Polyclinic’, which provided basic facilities like:
- Consultations by MBBS doctors.
- A collection centre for pathology samples.
The ‘Creative Polyclinic’ also organized consultations by a few specialists: a dermatologist, an orthopaedic surgeon, an ophthalmologist, an ENT surgeon, etc. It also organised Health Camps for full-body check-ups to generate health awareness among the local populace.
2001 – The Giants Group of Titwala donated an ECG machine. Thus, the polyclinic added a cardiac service to its other activities.
2002 – For raising funds, a charity show was organized: the famous Marathi play, 'Hich tar premachi gammat aahe', (हीच तर प्रेमाची गंमत आहे), with the support of the ‘Suyog Natya Sanstha’. Mr. Sudhir Bhat and Mr Gopal Algeri supported them in that endeavour. The proceeds were utilized for setting up the Creative Polyclinic’s Dental Clinic.
2003 – Creative Polyclinic inaugurated its x-ray unit.
2005 – Another charity show was organized for raising funds, helped this time by the actor, Mr Prashant Damle: the Marathi play, 'Eka lagnachi gosht' (एका लग्नाची गोष्ट). The profit contributed towards the working capital requirement of the ‘Creative Polyclinic’. It was difficult to manage expenses, and to get specialist doctors to visit a rural area with little monetary benefit.
The Creative Group continued kept its commitment of running the polyclinic smoothly with personal contributions. They were not rich people and it was difficult for them to run their own homes, at times. But they tarried regardless.
A Concessional Treatment Program for Senior Citizens was started.
The polyclinic’s facilities were not enough to handle emergencies 24 X 7. The members wanted an ambulance service to send patients quickly to advance centres for timely treatment. Not wavering from their goal of having a secondary-care multi-specialty hospital in Titwala, in spite of financial hardships, they began their search for a place to build it.
2007 – The Creative Group approached Mr. Pramod Lele (then the CEO of the Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai) and asked him for help.
2008- Philanthropists Smt. Pramila Vasant Dalal and her son Shri. Pramod Vasant Dalal, decided to donate a plot of land admeasuring 3500 sq. ft. from their family property. The Creative Group purchased the adjacent plot of 3500 sq. ft. in order to make a total of 7000 sq. ft. available for the hospital project.
2009 – The Bhoomi Pujan (land-blessing ceremony) was performed on the combined plots in presence of Dr. Rajaram Bhalerao (well-known surgeon), Mr. Govind Rathod (Former Commissioner, Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corp.), Mr. Subhash Joshi (Trustee-Sidhhivinayak Temple, Titwala), Dr Rajendra Patankar, and the family Dalal.
The foundation was laid. The Creative Group and the staff of the ‘Creative Polyclinic’ worked very hard during the construction phase. The legal documentation and other formalities took some effort, too.
2012- The Creative Group’s dream became a reality. Titwala got its first 40-bedded secondary-care multi-specialty “Shree Mahaganapati Hospital”, to serve the people of Titwala and surrounding rural areas.