Home > Journals & MediaJournals  > Kuyil > November 2000 > Introducing Albert


Newsletter of the Auroville Health Centre


Go to Kuyil main pageIntroducing Albert


Like many people in Auroville Albert came to live here as a result of a chance meeting while travelling around India.  He got into conversation with a Dutch Aurovilian while waiting at Pondicherry bus station and as a result of talking to her, came to stay in Auroville for two days.  He returned in 1991 for three or four months during which time he was asked by Dr Lucas if he would be willing to use his nursing skills to cover for someone who was leaving the Health Centre.  After several more years, during which he came to Auroville for several months each year, each time working at the Health Centre, he came and settled permanently in January 1997. 

When Lucas and Assumpta wanted to leave the Health Centre it was essential that that the right replacement for them was found.  At first no one offered, which is not surprising given that it is a difficult and sometimes uncomfortable job having to deal with and harmonise a very wide range of people from different nationalities with widely differing needs and expectations.  It required someone not only with good basic medical and managerial skills but also with the right personal qualities which include empathy and the ability to deal with conflict in a positive way.

Fortunately Albert not only had all the right qualities but was also interested in taking on the challenge.

Albert comes to the Health Centre with 27 years of experience as a Chief Nurse in Holland.  Asked why he decided to become a nurse Albert said that he knew someone who was travelling around the world using his nursing skills and so it seemed a very interesting thing to do which would open up many opportunities.  Starting at the age of 16 he did a seven year basic nurse training after which he did various other sorts of training - as a theatre nurse as well as getting a degree in nursing.  He also did a two year management training course.  Until he came to Auroville he had not used his skills to ‘work himself around the world’ as he had first envisaged for he enjoyed the work that he did in Dutch hospitals.

His first challenge in the Health Centre was to create a much needed nursing care centre for people who are either too old or ill to take care of themselves.  This was done by modifying some rooms in the children’s unit which were not being used very much.  The first person to take advantage of the new facility was Assumpta but since then many people, both Aurovilians and others, have been taken care of there. 

Albert’s vision for the Health Centre is to both improve and expand the nursing care centre and to enrich the quality of life, in whatever way possible, of the people in the surrounding villages.  This means increasing the scope of preventive health programs in the villages with the training and support of village health workers.  They implement screening programs for pregnant women and children which identify and treat a wide range of acute and long term illnesses.  There are also various health promotion activities with the help of the drama group and videos (for more details see later) as well as practical improvements in water and sanitation.  In particular Albert wants these programs to be accessible to the poorest people, these being the people who have the most need of them.  Improving the health of these people in this holistic way will, he is certain, improve the health of everyone in and around Auroville.

Dr Kamla Tewari continues to be an Executive along with Albert and remains very involved with the day to day work of the Health Centre.  This includes seeing 40 – 60 patients each month during 3 weekly clinics at the Health Centre and elsewhere in Auroville. A new doctor, Dr Anand joins us in the Health Centre.  He works in the clinic three days a week and in the next issue we will have an interview with him.




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