Inspired by the life of service given by Sathya Sai Baba, medical and dental personnel from Australia flew on 20 August to Nadi Fiji for the 2011 Sai Medical Camp. Dr Gunu Naker the manager and organiser assisted by Dr Lawrence Kissun traveled a few days earlier to ensure efficient and smooth functioning of the camp.
There were 37 medical volunteers in all from Australia consisting of 12 general practitioners and Specialists, 2 Ophthalmologists, 1 optometrist, 1 optical dispenser, 3 Dentists, 1 dental prosthetist, 3 nurses, I Clinical Psychologist, 10 volunteers, 1 medical student and 2 pharmacists.
The Australian team was joined by a number of volunteers and 5 medical personnel from the Fijian Sai Medical Practitioners.
The first day was devoted to education by holding a seminar for the local medical practitioners and medical students. A Symposium on Backache was the highlight followed by workshops and practical demonstrations. The key note speaker was Prof. Ian Rouse Dean of the Medical School of the Fiji National University.
Over the next 5 days the team traveled in a bus accompanied by 40 medical students from the local medical school to the interior and set up the camps. It took one to two hours by road to reach the sites which were often the local schools. Prior publicity by media meant we saw 2106 patients in 5 days.
The day started with multifaith prayers and ended with devotional singing to all the different names and forms of the Divine.
The camp consisted of the following services;
Most patients visited more than one or two disciplines. While waiting, the patients received health education talks with appropriate translations.
The medical students despite the hardship of travel and basic accommodation assisted us physically in setting up, in decamping and interpreting. In return they benefited from both the teaching and hands on experience provided.
They were adequately supervised by the accompanying University staff.
We are very grateful to the newly appointed Dean of UPSM, Prof Altaisaikhan and his staff, particularly Mrs. Alka Sewram, the liaison officer and supervisor of the students. In addition Mrs. Sewram also ran the pharmacy with us.
The last camp was at the newly built and recently inaugurated Viseisei Sai Health Centre. This clinic is a realization of a lifelong ambition of Prof Rajat Gyaneshwar and his wife Prof Swaran Naidu formerly of Sai family in Sydney.
This day started with a formal visit to the local Fijian village chief for his permission to enter the village and concluded with a book launch. The book is a compilation of plays based on the early life of Sathya Sai by Professor Subramani, Professor in Literature at the Fiji National University. The book is titled “A Play of Many Parts“.
We are grateful to the local Sai centres for their enthusiastic participation to meet the demands of a complex operation of this nature and for their generous hospitality.
We are also equally grateful to Dr Neil Sharma, Minister for Health Fiji, his department, and the local medical and dental services for their enthusiastic assistance.
There was a unanimous feeling amongst the team and all the volunteers that while treating a large section of the community and being of some help to them we achieved great professional, emotional and spiritual upliftment and satisfaction.
This was a team work and while the credit is due to all, the organisers are to be commended for their dedication, advance planning, coordination and induction of different sections of the community for a common and noble cause.
The Sai Medical Unit gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance provided in one or more ways by the following in addition to its own members:
The 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.
Prof Ian Rouse Dean of the Medical School / Fiji National University
Dr Neil Sharma Minister for Health Gov of Fiji and his department and Health Centres.
Fiji College of General Practitioners
Mr Kanti Punja
Mr. Ajay Punja
Mr. Harish Tappoo
Dr K P Singh
Mr.Henry Schein Halas
Mr Viren Khetia
Kadar Bus company