It all began in 1954, when a lady doctor from Denmark, Dr. Elizabeth Madsen, heard of the huge health needs in this region & came out to begin work on the verandah of the Church. She trained local people to take on the various tasks needed in a small hospital, all the while going out to nodal villages in the region, to ensure access to care. She led the fledgling institution for the first 22 years, with the support of the Danish Missionary Society. But by the mid-70's, the mission taps were running dry. They had done all they could for years, but now there would be no choice but to close down the hospital and yet, this was a vital lifeline for the people of this region, who had no other access, geographic or economic, to crucial health care. So in 1975, Dr. Madsen decided to search for new leadership that could run this hospital independently, so that it would stand on its own feet, without external support.
Thus it was that Dr. Virendra Kumar Henry, a Surgeon from Chhattisgarh, & his wife, Nancy Henry, an American Nurse, came to CHB. Within the next 4 years, with the mission hospital being scaled down annually, they & their team of staff were able to reach the point of self-sufficiency. Then came the time for Vision & Building. The Henrys led CHB in a blur of growth and expansion over the second 22 years, 1976-1998. In 1978, CHB started a School of Nursing, recognised by the Indian Nursing Council, to train ANM's for Orissa. In the early 80's, a master plan was drawn up to upgrade the hospital & respond to the health challenges of the region. Support was sought & recieved for infrastructure project from friends in Germany & Denmark.
In 1976, a Community Health Project was started by Dr. Madsen covering 90 Adivasi villages in 3 Gram Panchayats. In 1980, a second Community Health Project was started by the Nursing Department in Dakulguda village. In 1986, an English Medium School was opened on Campus, both to help attract and retain professional staff and to provide the crucial catalytic influence of quality education for a region that needs strategic inputs. In 1988, Dr. Madsen returned to Denmark, where she died in 1991. In 1994, the Community Health work of the hospital was revamped & refocused, under the operational name of MITRA (Madsen Institute for Tribal & Rural Advancement). In 1996, the General Nursing Programme was added to the School of Nursing.
In 1998, Dr. Henry handed over charge to Dr. Padmashree Sahu, his Obstetrician colleague since 1977. The same year the Mitra Residential School at Kachapaju was opened - a residential primary school for the children of 16 hill-tribe villages, jointly managed by CHB & the Malkondh Anchalika Sangha, a peoples organisation.
In the next 13 years, CHB grew busier and busier, as the needs of the patients stretched our capacity to respond. In 2004, we celebrated our golden jubilee, 50 years of service in the heart of need. Between 2005 & 2009, we built a new Mother and Child Care Centre to respond to the Obstetric & Neonatal needs of the escalating numbers of people who come to us. This project also included a new Administrative Block also. The hospital grew to 200-bedded capacity during this period. In 2011, Dr. Padmashree Sahu handed over charge to Dr. Hemaprabha Mohanty, our consultant Ophthalmologist, who became the 4th Medical Superintendent of CHB.
Over the years, CHB has grown from a single bed; single doctor initiative in 1954, to what it is today: a 200 bedded, multispeciality mission hospital, in a remote tribal region, providing: