International Medical Camp in Prashanti Nilayam
The Sathya Sai International Medical Committee (SSIMC) of the Sathya Sai International Organisation has been blessed by Bhagawan Baba to deliver medical care globally to serve populations living in underserved areas. This medical care is delivered through medical and dental camps, permanent medical and dental clinics, preventive health care programmes, mobile medical clinics, clinical teaching and disaster relief activities.
In Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, international medical camps are held twice a year during Guru Poornima celebrations for a period of 5 days and during Bhagawan’s Birthday celebrations for a period of 8 days. This is a wonderful opportunity for doctors and allied health care workers (including nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists) to participate and be part of this sacred mission of serving Swami. These medical camps also provide a wonderful opportunity for a multinational team of volunteers including young adults (medical and non-medical) to take an active role in organising medical camps and actively participating in various programmes. Medical professionals provide direct patient care, and non-medical volunteers assist with camp set-up, registration, queue management, recording vital signs (weight and blood pressure), translational services, pharmacy tasks and assisting patients.
The international medical camps initially started in a small tent and subsequently were conducted at the Sathya Sai General Hospital for a few years, alongside the regular clinics in the hospital. Working in unity, these camps then found a permanent home inside the ashram and for the past several years, they have been held in the N4 building. Over the past 10 years, nearly 65,000 patients have been served in these international medical camps in Prasanthi Nilayam.
During Bhagawan’s 90th Birthday celebrations, the international medical camp was held from November 18th to 25th, 2015. Volunteers from 13 countries participated in this camp including United States of America (USA), Australia, Canada, India, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom (UK), and West Indies. The distribution of volunteers is shown below:
Medical Camp Services
During this 8-day camp, a record number of patients from India and several other countries throughout the globe visited the camp for medical services. A total of 11,810 patients of all ages were served, which included 11,071 adults (5,998 men and 5,073 women) and 739 children. All Volunteers worked in unity, harmony and love to serve everyone who visited the medical camp.
Medical services included medical management of acute and chronic medical conditions. Additionally, acute care services such as inhalation pulmonary treatments, wound care, and administration of intravenous fluids and antibiotics were provided. There was also a focus on education for disease prevention and maintenance of good health. A dedicated room was used for medical education in the mornings to impart valuable lifestyle tips to diabetic patients who came in for blood sugar tests. Patients who were seriously ill requiring further acute care were transferred to either the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital or the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (Super Specialty Hospital), Prasanthigram in an ambulance, from the Camp.
In addition to the medical services, visual acuity testing (eye testing for vision) was done and reading glasses were distributed to about 1,000 patients. More than 500 walking sticks/canes were distributed to physically challenged people. In addition, patients were screened for defective hearing and two patients received hearing aids.
All patients were filled with gratitude for the services provided at the medical camp. One patient commented “I have never been to a medical camp where I experienced Swami’s message ‘Help Ever, Hurt Never’ at each and every station in the camp starting with the volunteers at the registration, doctors and at the pharmacy. Thank you for everything”. Volunteering at these medical camps was a wonderful opportunity given to all, to experience Swami’s love through selfless service to patients in need.