In service to humanity and to Sathya Sai Baba, the 7th Annual Combined Sai Medical Camp was carried out with more volunteers and patients attending for year 2013. The team was headed by Dr Gunu Naker (manager) and assisted by Dr K Nadanachandran the national and Zone 3 Sai Medical coordinator with Dr Saras Nandan, his Fijian counterpart.
2013 Combined Australian and Fijian Sai Medical Camp in Fiji – 18 to 23 August 2013
The Australian team had 42 volunteers – 31 medical and paramedical members, and 11 non-medical volunteers from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and one from New Zealand. Eight volunteers from Fiji also joined the Free Medical Camp Team. These were ably assisted by 40 medical students from the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine, Fiji University.
Annual Medical Conference
UPSM – University of Fiji
The first day of the Conference was as in the past dedicated to continuing medical education at the University of Fiji. The theme was “Women’s Health“.
The proceedings commenced with multifaith prayers followed by one minute silence remembering the recently departed Dr Umanand Prasad, the founder of the medical school which is named after him and also a Sai Medical Practitioner.
The acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Fiji Prof Narendra Reddy – who is also the chairman of the Sathya Sai Organisation of Fiji and of the Sai Trust of Fiji – welcomed the participants.
In addition to the oversea volunteers, local general practitioners and medical students from Umanand Prasad Medical School (UPSM) participated and contributed with research papers and posters.
Mr Renato Mele the Head of Operations to the Delegation of European Union for the Pacific and Mr Kamlesh Acharya, former Fijian Ambassador to Australia also addressed the gathering.
The keynote address was by Associate Professor Swaran Naidu from the Fiji National University. She is a long-standing Sai Medical Unit Participant and Practitioner, and along with her husband Prof Rajat Gyaneshwar is a founding trustees of a local free medical clinic named Visseisi Sai Medical Centre.
Professor Swaran Naidu’s paper was titled “Women’s Health – Challenges in Fiji“, based on a community-based research in Fiji funded by the European Union. The paper addressed the medical and related social issues facing women and the need to empower them with the right knowledge.
Several papers from the visiting team were also presented relevant to the theme, followed by a workshop.
Sai Medical Camps – Services and Clinics
- Raki Raki 19/8/2013)
- Ba (20/08/2013)
- Nadi (21/08/2013)
- Loma – Sigatoka (22/08/2013) (Home Town)
- Korovuto – Nadi (23/08/2013)
Over the next 5 days the team of visiting and local volunteers assisted by 40 medical students drove to remote village schools and set up the camps. General Medical, Eye, Dental, Child and Women’s Health, Nursing, Medical Education and Pharmacy services were provided free. The local Sai organisation and school staff assisted with catering and other facilities.
The camps started with multifaith prayer, thought for the day and ended with devotional singing. Patients needing further care were referred to the local health facilities.
The service provided consisted of computerised patient registration, triage, nursing assessment, general medical, paediatric, Eye clinic, women’s health, neurosurgery, dental clinic, dental prosthetic service, and pharmacy. The medical students received hands on clinical training in addition to helping the team.
Total number of patients registered is 2480 and the number of consultations is 3337. This included 348 dental, 315 Women’s Health, 1191 Eye, and 1483 Medical. Over 750 spectacles were distributed, free.
There was great assistance provided by the local Sai Centres, local school staff, school committees, health clinics and the Ministry of Health, Fiji.
The free medical and dental care along with the healthy living clinics provided were appreciated by the patients and communities. A number of articles appeared in the local press highlighting the work.
Newspaper reports about the Sai Medical Camp
All the volunteers felt Sai energy despite long travel and long hours of work. They left professionally fulfilled and spiritually uplifted, promising to come again.
We are eternally grateful to our beloved Guru – Sri Sathya Sai Baba – and to the patients who came to see us for this very rewarding experience and to those listed below who assisted our project generously.
Feedback from Participants
“I am still elevated to a level within myself which can never be described but only felt. Although never did I have the opportunity to talk or touch Swami in his physical form but only feel him from within, Swami in his own way gave me what I had missed out”.
It was another beautiful med camp to be with you all. You all have inspired me to follow Swami’s values. I observed all of you in amazement in the way you were showing Swami’s love to one and all. It was more of a spiritual camp rather than a med camp. I now understand why Swami says “service is for your own spiritual growth, not for others”. Thanks to every one of you made my stay very memorable and lovely.
“Some people had travelled to the camp, leaving their home at 4m and reaching Ellington Primary School at 10am. Being curious I asked the group why did they travel so far, they could have gone to the general hospital. Response “You are God’s chosen people and we feel blessed to be served by your love and generosity.”
“An extremely busy day at the gate. I was given an opportunity to do some translation for an Indo-Fijian lady. A feeling of immense love and understanding towards the very poor and neglected people. Before she left the camp, she came to me and gave her blessings to “all who have come so far to help us – May God bless you and your children.”
Procedures at Medical Camps:
1. Number token desk, where numbers were given to attendees who needed medical attention
2. Camp attendees were made to sit in the education areas.
3. Attendees were called for registration desk as per number
4. After registration they were directed to Triage desk managed by Doctors, nurses and students.
5. Attendees were then ushered to the nurse’s station or the designated clinics, General Clinic where Paediatricians, Psychologist, and GP served. Those who needed eye, dental or women’s health were ushered to respective clinic. Those who needed medication were directed to the pharmacy. Many took up the offer of free hand and foot massage after their clinic visit.
Health Education and Awareness Program:
Patient education sessions, mostly targeting topics of concern in the Fiji populace, were generally held near registration area. The main topics were:
- Healthy Eating and Lifestyle changes
- Mental Health/Stress Management
- Smoking and excessive consumption of kava and alcohol
- Proper use of medication
- Dental Health
- Severity of Headache (Migraines, Tumor)
- Women’s Health Issues
- Men’s Health Issues
In addition to service and supplies given by our own members, the Sai Medical Unit gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance provided in one or more ways by the following:
The Sathya Sai Organisation and Sai Medical Unit of Fiji and the Sai Centres.
University of Fiji and Umanand Prasad School of Medicine – the Dean, the staff and the medical students.
Pharmacor Pty. Ltd.
Australian Medical Aid Foundation Inc
Eastbrooke Medical Centres, Carlton, NSW
Team Medical Supplies
Edge Eyewear, Victoria
Sheraton, Westin Group.
Tanoa Group Hotels
Arcade Pharmacy Engadine