The history of Assunta Hospital is closely linked to the establishment of Petaling Jaya, a satellite city developed in 1952 to ease the problem of overpopulation in Kuala Lumpur. With a founding population of 800 people who stayed mostly at the area known as Old Town today, it soon became clear that Petaling Jaya needed a reliable healthcare provider.
Understanding the need for medical services, four Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) nuns started a small clinic called Ave Maria at Section 1 to serve the healthcare needs of the underprivileged in 1954. Through public donations, the little clinic was soon expanded to include a maternity home and convent.
By 1957, the population of Petaling Jaya had grown so rapidly that the clinic cum-maternity home could no longer meet the needs of the people. Led by philanthropist, the late Tun Leong Yew Koh, a large-scale fundraising event was organised, which successfully raised enough funds to build the hospital on its current location in 1959.
More firsts were in store, with the Kidney Unit established in 1967 and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in 1971. Limited resources in terms of workforce and facilities were no match for the sheer dedication and deep compassion of the FMM sisters and the hospital.
In 1974, the Assunta Foundation was formed and the management of the now full-fledged hospital was handed over to a Board of Directors by the FMM sisters. The main function of the Board is to assist the hospital maintain a balance between providing affordable healthcare and sustaining the hospital’s operations amidst rising costs.
Unlike normal business models where shareholders get to enjoy a share of the company’ profits, the honorary members of the board, consisting of FMM sisters and prominent figures in society, contribute their time and effort on a voluntary basis to regulate the hospital operations.
Recognising the fact that human beings are not only physical, but also spiritual, emotional and relational beings, Pastoral Care services was established in 1988 to extend emotional and spiritual support to patients and their families.
A decade later, the Assunta Hospital Community Service (AHCS), now known as Assunta Integrated Social Services (ASSISS) was established to reach out to the under-privileged and to continue to address the needs of the community.
Being a not-for-profit establishment, the hospital operates on a premise of social entrepreneurship, where up to 70% of its profits are reinvested back for further expansion of the hospital, investment in new equipment and technology, renovation and modernization of the facilities and also to cover the operational costs of the hospital.
The remaining 30% is channelled to the Social Welfare Fund, to provide subsidised medical care to patients from the lower social economic group and those who qualify for medical aid, based on criteria set by the Social Welfare committee.
Assunta Hospital Today
With over 100 specialists, the 245-bedded Assunta Hospital is now a technologically-advanced specialist hospital. The School of Nursing was also upgraded to become the Tun Tan Cheng Lock College of Nursing in 1995.
Over the years, the hospital continues to pour its heart and soul and a significant part of its profits into community work, some of which have even won regional recognition, such as the Passionately You campaign initiated in 2008 to raise awareness on breast and cervical cancers. Guided by the light of hope of the FMM sisters, Assunta Hospital will continue to evolve and grow, providing care in the true spirit of its founders.