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Thiruvananthapuram Puthenthope, Leo Bhavan

Leyon Lopez Puthenthope

Unselfish Social worker: "In the true sense, late Mr. Leyon Lopez was an unselfish gentleman who lives in the hearts and minds of our people." George Netto (Singapore) said on the occasion of the inaugural speech of the beginning of the Kerala Drama Festival at Jai Hind in Puthenthope, about 33 years back

Truly Leyon Lopez was an unselfish social worker who lived for the community. He did not talk the talk, but did walk the walk. He walked miles and miles along the coastal line to Valiathura to meet his friend named Leen D'cruz. From there, he went to see the administrators at Vellayambalam and Fort, in the early 40's to deal with many problems including land registrations. There were hardly ten houses in Puthenthope at that time, and others living conditions were not that promising and beyond the imagination of younger generation. During the time of world war, when the food supply was scarce, his influence brought regular rations (government food quota) to Puthenthope. When the people were dying of all kinds of sickness, whether it is due to the lack of proper health care or poor living conditions, his most priority was to bring a hospital, a government hospital in Puthenthope.

He walked the walk, up and down, from Puthenthope to Vellayambalam, Fort, and other places for so many days and months in 1942-43, to influence many  administrators including Pattom Thanupillai in order to get sanctioned the construction of a government hospital in Puthenthope. At last, his integrity and purpose was accepted. A government hospital was allotted by his sole effort after many months of run-arounds. He was a clean, soft spoken gentleman, or else he would have been thrown out of those administrative centers in those wild days. Segregation was a mild term, and it did not affect him much because of his quality.

And a big property was given away by his friend and real estate manager. The government hospital construction began in 1944. His mission was accomplished by bringing the hospital for the people whom he loved the most, but he himself paid the toll for his hard work. In the same year, he got pneumonia and was bed ridden all on a sudden. His friends tried to get penicillin for his treatment, and none was easily available except two were kept in the palace for emergency as the Travancore Rani was expecting. And at last, when the hospital was about to open for the public, he died at home peacefully without proper medication at the young age of 43, leaving his wife and seven children, and the youngest was just two years old. What a paradox! May his Soul Rest in Peace.

But the fruit of his effort, will last for ever. The people came to this hospital as far as  Vettucaud, Veli, Perumathura, Puthukurichy, Kadinamkulam, Kaniyapuram. Once, it was the only government hospital in about seventy square kilometers. Let it alone speaks in volume about the importance of this hospital in those days. This is a sixty year old Kerala fact.

But today, I believe the health care system in Kerala is comparable or better than many western countries'. Thanks to the exponential economic progress, which brings hospitals and health care professionals to every corner, now.











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