With Blessings and Divine Guidance this year’s medical camp was held from 14 to 19 August on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu. As usual the service was a combined Australian and Fijian Sai service activity providing free of charge medical and related services to the people of Fiji. There were 57 volunteers from Australia and 6 from Fiji. The Australian volunteers came from as far as Western Australia.
This was a year of historical significance being the tenth annual visit by us on this mission. Our commitment to Sai Baba and His teachings helped us to lift the standards by several notches. The highlights were:
- The introduction of a surgical team at the Labasa Hospital.
- The addition of a psychiatrist to the team.
- The number of patients registered was 1273. The number of services provided totalled 2146.
- A conference for the Sangam School of Nursing in Labasa on the island of Vanua Levu in addition to the regular one at the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine (UPSM) – University of Fiji.
- The attendance of two ministers of the Fijian Government at the Labasa conference with the theme of Women’s Health.
- The donation of a pre-loved operating theatre table to the Labasa Hospital.
- The return of the Nursing students to the camp after their absence last year.
Apart from volunteers from the Sathya Sai International Organisations, 16 medical students from UPSM and 2 students from Monash Medical Faculty, (members of the Friends of Fiji Organisation), along with 20 senior nursing students joined us in the service. They were of immense help and in turn benefitted from the skills and experience of the team. The students appreciated this unique opportunity which also gave them first-hand experience of Human Values in action.
The newly installed surgical team consisted of a Hepatobiliary surgeon, a Urological surgeon, an anaesthetist and a Senior Theatre Nurse Manager. They were also supported by an Intensive Care nurse and a Stoma Care nurse. The team performed 25 procedures in 4 days and made 31 consultations in addition to several teaching sessions for the staff. The urologist was also able to procure a used operating theatre table from his hospital and have it shipped ahead. This was a very useful donation. A full list of volunteer staff follows in the next section.
Aside from the medical services provided, for the first time we organised a seminar for the local doctors at the Sangam School of Nursing on the theme of “Women’s Health.” The conference was opened on 14 August by the Deputy Minister for Health, Hon Ms Veena Bhatnagar, who then sat through the conference and also visited the camp next day. Concluding remarks were made by Hon Ms Rosy Akbar, Minister for Women’s Affairs and Alleviation of Poverty. Since then Ms Akbar has been appointed the Minister for Health. The two ministers appreciated very much the work done by the organisation and offered to provide all assistance in their power.
A second seminar was conducted at the UPSM for the medical students and local medical practitioners on 19 August. Both this and the earlier conference were accepted as fulfilling Fiji’s Continuing Professional Development requirements for the local doctors accruing 4 points.
The camp lasted 4 days and was split between 2 locations; Nadogo Central College and Seaqaqa Central College, both situated in rural areas on the outskirts of Labasa.
The day’s activity at the camps commenced with a prayer followed by the patients joining in multifaith devotional songs. Health educational programmes for the patients were also a feature. A number of clinics were established to deal with specific medical issues. These are listed in the following section. During consultations we saw the familiar clinical issues of diabetes, hypertension, poor oral hygiene and poor vision. We were able to conclude each day with the discussion of illustrative patients presented by the medical students from the UPSM.
Apart from the camp service the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s neurosurgical ward was given a cheque for FJ$4000 by Mr Kanti Jinna of Canberra. This was money left over from the Sai Medical Neurosurgical Team visit which ended in 2012.
Another donation of an Electric Drill worth over A$56,000.00 was presented to the Neurosurgical Unit of Fiji by the Australian High Commissioner in Fiji. This donation came about through the efforts of Mr Jinna and the Sai Medical Unit.
It was thus by the grace of God a very satisfying mission.
In loving Sai service,
Dr Gunu Naker MBBS, M Psy. Med., FAMAC
Team Leader Sai Medical Unit Australia Fiji Medical Camps.
Joint Coordinator Sai Medical Unit Australia & PNG
Dr K Nadanachandran AM, FRCSE, FRCS, FRACS
Joint Coordinator Sai Medical Unit Australia & PNG
Coordinator Sai Medical Unit Zone 3
Members in each Clinic:
Surgical team Labasa Hospital: 2 surgeons, 1 anaesthetist, 1 theatre nurse
Dental Clinic: 5 dentists, 1 dental hygienist, 1 educationist, 1 dental prosthetist
Eye Clinic: 2 ophthalmologists, 1 optometrist, 1 orthoptist
Women’s clinic: 1 gynaecologist, 1 midwife nurse
General Clinic: 9 medical practitioners (specialists and GPs)
Nurses’ stations: 6 nurses
Physio: 1 physio, 1 OT
Psychology: 1 psychiatrist, 2 psychologists
Pharmacy: 2 pharmacists, 3 assistants
Patient Education: 2 members
Triage: 2 members
Registration and record management: 9 members
18 Medical students – 16 UPSM and 2 Monash helped in different areas
20 Senior students from Sangam School of Nursing with 1 supervisor helping in different areas
5-6 Local volunteers helped in the kitchen to feed the whole team of over 100.
Many people and organisations involved in healthcare came together to make the camp occur – a free medical camp, run entirely by volunteers. In this wise, we acknowledge all who made this camp a reality:
Sathya Sai Sevice Organisation Fiji, the Ministry of Health Fiji, Fiji and Vanua Levu Health Centres- Labasa Hospital staff, Hon Veena Bhatnagar, Hon Minister Rosie Akbar, Kishan Kumar, Sangam School of Nursing for conference and nursing student involvement, members of College of GP, Namara Temple organisers, Sangam Temple staff, Nauneet Hiralal, Hare Krishna Organisation, the Sai Family of Vanua Levu, Charanjit Singh Group and Grand Eastern/Friendly North Hotels, Fiji Airways, Fijilink, CDP for courier, Star printing, Sofitel hotels, Tanoa group of Hotels, Dalip Chand buses, Westbus Nadi, Jiten Amarsee for 10th year celebration shirts, Harrish Tappoo, and the Tappoo warehouse staff for drinking water and storage, Ms Naina Kua (Colgate Palmolive) for tooth brushes and toothpaste, Mr Hussain of A Hussain Harware supplies for disposable plates and ropes, Ajesh, Nasuatec for the truck to transport supplies, Sanjeet Sagar, for a van for transport of personal baggage, Umanand Prasad School of Medicine, University of Fiji.
GC Australia, for Glass ionomer restorative material, (http://www.gcasia.info), Iso Diamant, for burs, 35 Woodland Street, Balgowlah Heights, NSW, 2093, Henry Schien Halas- Elizebeth Egon- GIC, Composits for bond and odontopaste, glooves and files, Ravikesh Prasad, Sapna Prakash, Shivagni Naidu, Dental Hygienist , Shivangani Lata Singh, Kaushik, Dr. Naina Kau from Colgate Palmolive for the donation of tooth brushes and tooth paste.
Drew Johnson from Allergan Australia, Alexandra Wardle from Alcon Laboratories Australia, Essilior (aust) CEO, Vision Foundation, Mr Greg Johnson, Larry- Ocean Eyewear- reading glasses and sunglasses
General Medical and Women’s health
Viren Khetia, Kirrawee Pharmacy, Eastbrooke Medical Centre Carlton.
MOH Fiji, Linda Haran -Pharmacor, Mukesh Narsey, Mehul Sanghvi, Rati Ram, Jayesh Lodhia, Narend Kumar, Prakash Chandra, Vihung Kapadia, Alvin Narsey, Navin Amarsi, Dinesh Solanki, Hamesh Kapadia, Ranjit Ratilal, Ajesh Solanki , Vipul Kapadia, Rajesh Lodhia, Sigma Pharmaceutical Pty Ltd, Arrow Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, Grimsey & Associates Pty, Chandra Pharmacy
Anuraag, SuniSalunke, Aveen, Gunu
Mark Brown- Coram – dispensing software and laptop printer
The camp and conferences attracted some media interest. Please click here to read the media article.