First Foray to Fiji, with New Zealand

fini1During 2007, a two week medical camp was provided to Fiji with over 40 medical and allied personnel participating. Volunteers from Australia, New Zealand and the USA participated and provided free medical care.

Summary – Joint Australia – New Zealand – USA Medical Camp

With the grace of our Lord, this year’s medical camp successfully concluded with the team being able to see close to 4,500 patients in the most rural and remote in makeshift medical centres around Fiji. The medical teams from Australia, New Zealand, America, Fiji, with the assistance of personnel from the Ministry of Health, volunteers from the various locations and the members of the Sai Organisation braved and tackled all odds to be able to skillfully and tactfully meet to the medical needs for large masses of people and provide the much needed service with love, care, and caution.

Efforts and assistance of the personnel of the Fijian Ministry of Health from the various areas has surely been remarkable. Senior officials of the Ministry of Health have commended the makeshift setups and how these services compliment the Health Services in Fiji.

The Management and staff of the various community schools have been very supportive with the provision of venues and the personalised services provided on the day of the camps. It was also nice to see the local communities coming out to provide the best they could do to aid and facilitate our camp and the providers of this camp.
Joint Medical Camp Participants

Sai Medical Unit, Australia
Sai Medical Unit, New Zealand
Doctors, Goodwill Foundation, USA


Members of Sai Medical Unit Australia have been active doing various services over few years since inception about 1999. Members have been net working and provide free services to the needy in medical and dental areas. Camps were organised along with other services to the aboriginal community in Toomelah, North West NSW. Some of the members have served at the General and Super Speciality hospital in Puttaparthi and Bangalore. Members in NSW held Sai First Aid workshops in NSW with youth and ladies wing. Talks on women’s health and Ayurveda have been organised in past. Members have given medical services at some of the National conferences held in various areas of Australia. Neurosurgical services have been provided in past in Fiji and these have continued on regular bases by Dr Nadana Chandran

This project was planned after a meeting with Dr Natvarlal Rajpara (member of the Doctors Goodwill Foundation of USA). Members of the foundation have organised medical camps in underdeveloped countries in the past. The group was very happy to do such a project in needy areas like Fiji in collaboration with Sai Organisation. Meanwhile after communication with Sai Devotees in Fiji who had previously organised Sai Medical camps, planning for camp was set for March 2007. Advice was received from local Sai devotees in Fiji and team leader of NZ Sai Medical team who had completed a very successful camp in Fiji, that weather conditions may be difficult for participants in March. Finally in communication with team leader of DGF USA (Dr Kanti Bhalani) and the team leader of NZ Sai Medical team (Dr Dinesh Lal); medical camp was planned for the period of 16 – 23rd June 2007 as a joint project. With the expertise of the NZ team and the experience of the local Fiji Sai Organisation we may learn and serve better. It is vital that all the members observe Sai principles and discipline.

Objectives of the project:

Serve where the need is.
Cooperation and unity.
Team work
Learn to serve with love and put Swami’s teaching in action.
Assess future needs.

Planning of Australian Team:

Notification was sent out to the members registered on Sai Medical Unit Australia register about the dates of the camp to indicate their interest in joining the team. Information was circulated through Sai release and emails to the various zones nationwide. There was good response from devotees in every state. A few non Sai devotees were also interested in joining the team.

In communication with the team leader of the whole camp Dr Dinesh Lal, from the interested applicants members were selected with the expertise that would be needed for the camp as well as we needed to limit the numbers for the logistics of accommodation and travel.

Dr Dinesh Lal, Mrs Dharana Lal and the members of Sai Organisation Fiji planned and organised the camp. Brother Karunesh Rao was appointed by the Sai Organisation Fiji as coordinator of this project to facilitate smooth operation. All these members did a tremendous job in making this project successful and looking after the needs of all the members of Australian, NZ and USA teams.

In order that all the members of Australian team are well informed about the planning, 4 meetings were organised prior to the camp and all the members were notified about the proceedings of the meeting, by email. All the members were informed about approximate cost of travel, accommodation and other cost. Each volunteer contributed their share for these expenses. Mr Jayanti Pala assisted with travel arrangement between Australia and Fiji with Air Pacific.

A separate account was set out in the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation Australia as Medical Aid Fiji. Those devotees and others who showed interest in helping this project were directed to send funds to Mr Anandakumar for the designated account. Funds from this were used as our share for all the medication supplied at the camp to the patients at no cost and blood testing equipment.

Make up Australian Team:

1. Dr Shobini Sivagnanam (NSW) Doctor – RMO
2. Dr Sharanyaa Sivagnanapiragasam ( NSW) Doctor – RMO
3. Dr Kandiah Kathirkamsekaran ( NSW) Doctor – GP
4. Dr Gunu Naker ( NSW) Doctor – GP
5. Dr Kian Yan Sim ( NSW) Doctor – GP
6. Dr Evie Choo Lin Kerr ( WA ) Doctor – GP
7. Dr Myurathy Nadana Chandran ( ACT ) Doctor – GP
8. Mr Bhupendra(Ben) Narsi ( NSW) Optometrist
9. Mr Prakashchandra Patel ( NSW) Pharmacist
10. Mr Vihung Kapadia ( VIC ) Pharmacist
11. Dr Ashok Lodhia ( NSW) Dentist
12. Dr Shyamal Kumar ( VIC ) Dentist
13. Mr Lawrence Kissun ( NSW) Dental Prosthetist
14. Ms Poh Tee Tan ( WA ) Registered Nurse
15. Ms Sharruni Ravindran ( VIC ) Registered Nurse
16. Dr K Nadana Chandran ( ACT ) Neurosurgeon
17. Dr Rajat Gyneshwar ( NSW) Gynec -Obs
18. Dr Swaran Naidu ( NSW) Gynec -Obs
19. Mrs Usha Naker ( NSW) Gen Volunteer
20. Mrs Anita Patel ( NSW) Gen Volunteer

Australian team was joined by 22 members from New Zealand and 4 members from USA and about 4-6 Fiji professionals. We were supported by adequate number of local Sai volunteers.

All the members took their own equipments and supplies according to their needs. Supplies were acquired from individual’s suppliers when they were notified about the project. Some suppliers donated the supplies. Some of the equipments were left with the Sai Organisation for use at their local clinic and for use in the future camps. Samples of medication were taken by some doctors from Australia, NZ and USA. Most of the medications were supplied on consignment bases from local wholesalers in Fiji, “Makans”. They were very supportive and cost effective for this cause.

Travel and Accommodation:

Members from WA joined members from NSW in Sydney and the team left for Fiji on Friday the 15th June 2007 by Air Pacific. Staff of Air Pacific, were very supportive and accommodative with our extra luggage of equipments and supplies. They had made special arrangement for our sitting in the plane. Victorian members travelled from Melbourne by Air Pacific on the same day late in the night and arrived early hours of 16th June and had to join 1st day of camp. ACT member arrived on 17th June. We were all accommodated in a comfortable, Waterfront Hotel, owned by Mr Y P Reddy, brother of Gopma Naidu in Sydney. Members of Sai Organisation in Fiji had made all the arrangements to receive all the members, transfer to the accommodation and for the meals in loving Sai spirit.