The 2014 Sai Medical Camp Team

he 2014 Sai Medical Camp Team

In service to the people of Fiji and to Sathya Sai Baba, the 8th Annual Sai Medical Camp took place with more volunteers and patients attending than ever before. The annual medical camp was held from 17 to 22 August 2014. 53 volunteers from Australia and 8 from Fiji participated in this service of Love in Action. The medical camp this year was held on the island of Vanua Levu where it was felt there was a greater need.

As in the past, the first day was dedicated to a medical conference at the UPSM medical school in Saweni, Lautoka. The theme this year was “Men’s Health”. Local and visiting members presented a number of interesting papers. From the statistics of previous camps it was evident that men utilised the camp facility less by 12% compared to women.

The team then flew to Vanua Levu. Based in the city of Labasa, the team carried out the camps two days each in the villages of Coqelua (Pronounced Dongeloa) and Seaqaqa (Senganga). Please see map of the Fiji Islands and Vanua Levu camps.

Map of the Fiji Islands and Vanua Levu camps.

Map of the Fiji Islands and Vanua Levu camps. (Click to see larger version)

Location of medical camps in Vanua Levu

Location of medical camps in Vanua Levu (Click to see larger version)

The local Sai family was joined by the TISI Sangam, a local Hindu organisation in providing the much needed local support. 20 medical students from UPSM and 20 students from the Labasa Sangam School of Nursing joined us. They gave invaluable assistance and gained from the teaching and hands on experience facilitated by the Sai Medical Unit. A number of local organisations and individuals provided significant support. We worked closely with the local health clinics.

The medical team consisted of family practitioners, specialist physicians, dermatologist, eye surgeons, optometrists, psychologists, physiotherapist, dentists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetist and general non-medical volunteers.

The camps commenced with a universal prayer, and thought for the day and concluded with bhajans at the local temple.

Statistics:

  • Total number of patients registered in 4 days of the camp – 1736
  • Dental – 360
  • Number of Dental services provided – 547
  • Eye – 870
  • Medical Adult – 880
  • Medical Paediatrics – 85
  • Dermatology – 141
  • Women’s Health – 167
  • Psychology – 8
  • Physiotherapy – 23

Dr Gunu Naker (Project Manager) compiled a selection of feedback received from Volunteers and Participants in the 2013 Sai Medical Camp. This feedback is given below:

I had a great first experience and hope I was able to make a difference on some level I felt a real camaraderie with everyone and had a sense we were doing justice to the message of Love All Serve All- a message which anyone can relate to regardless of belief. The students were great help. I was really impressed with how efficiently and professionally it ran and hope to come again”.

Dental work the Sai Medical Camp

Dental work the Sai Medical Camp

“So, I joined the Sai medical team for personal reason because I was expecting to run a marathon for charity to become more fit and for spiritual reasons to understand what “service to the poor through Swami’s love meant”.

During this journey I enjoyed richer relationships with others I made contact with (team members and patients) and gained life-long friends. I am humbled by the love I felt from every team member and the patients who rewarded me with genuine smiles and blessings for the little I did for them. I feel awakening and dissolving into a new space of peace and tranquillity, which I gained far from any painful process of running a marathon. I am so grateful for the awesome team leadership which assured me comfort and convenience. Whilst I truly acknowledge Swami’s blessings to my new and vibrant “energybody”, I could not have cleared and healed from my stress/anxiety without the loving support of others. I return home feeling blessed and exhilarated. Sai Ram”

In the triage room at the Sai Medical Camp

In the triage room at the Sai Medical Camp

“Serving the poor in the country I was born in was so humbling and rewarding.

In Conqeloa, Swami sent us a patient who was not just in need of medical work up/Pharmaceuticals but also an opportunity to help rejuvenate my childhood sense of wonder. How does a patient with BP>200/130, BSL >23 walk miles in hot sun without food and water to attend Sai medical camp, sit and wait in a long line up for hours, remain asymptomatic and greet me with a warmest smile and the kindest words?? It can’t just be “body compensating for its needs”. I am not only amazed and humbled by this but even more prepared to learn about Swami’s wonder. With his grace, humbling experiences emerged within me by realising that respecting others and serving them when in need, with love and care is a lifelong process of spiritual growth and improvement. It made me realise that charity does not stop at my own doorsteps. I appreciated my own achievements, which were best rewarded through blessings received when reaching out to poor people in need. Sai Medical service is a divine concept indeed. An experience I will never forget”.

“Being involved in yet another medical camp has made me realise that, never mind how big a problem or challenge I may be encountering right now is NOTHING, NOTHING compared to the pain, suffering and the needs of people out there.

An elderly gentleman, ambulant with a walking stick, who, reasons only known to him sheds tears without any spoken words as soon as he lies on the table to be examined, made me wonder how much pain and suffering he must be going through to be in the present state as such.

He must be hurting so much and yet pours his heart out once reassured that we are here for him. As I write this my heart becomes heavy with so much pain and tears start flowing because we have had a chance to be out there and encounter and feel the pain of others”.

Media Coverage

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Group provides free medical check

A GROUP of medical experts from Australia will provide a two-day free medical service to the Seaqaqa community in Macuata.

About 400 people converged on Seaqaqa Central College to take advantage of the services by the Sai Medicare yesterday.

The services ranged from general check-up to women’s health, paediatrics, skin and eye clinics and free pharmacy to name a few.

Group joint co-ordinator and neurosurgeon Kathir Nadanachandran said they had been coming to Fiji for the past eight years.

“We have been visiting Fiji, mainly Viti Levu for the past seven years and now we have come to the North,” he said.

“Prior to our visit, we usually conduct our pilot research to identify the health needs of the rural people in Fiji and with the help of our local counterparts, we are able to ascertain the areas that need our help.

“Our visit is usually for one week and the group comprises of Australian-based health experts, volunteers from the University of Fiji and the Labasa Sangam College of Nursing, and other local volunteers.”

Dr Nadanachandran said many of them sacrificed to stay away from work to be part of this humanitarian act.

“After this, we will move up to Coqeloa in Labasa to provide similar services there. The response from the public has been overwhelming and we would like to thank the Ministry of Health and our local coordinators for their assistance.

“For us, this service has not only benefited our patients but also the volunteers who have been educated through the work we are doing.

‘We are happy to be extending our helping hand to the people of Fiji,” said Dr Nadanachandran.

The services ranged from general check-up to women’s health, paediatrics, skin and eye clinics and free pharmacy to name a few.

Dr Nadanachandran said they had been coming to Fiji for the past eight years.

“We have been visiting Fiji, mainly Viti Levu for the past seven years and now we have come to the North,” he said.

Source: Fiji Times, Tuesday, August 19, 2014