The Sai Medical Unit of the Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia & PNG combined with its Fijian counterpart to conduct a free medical camp for those in need in Fiji during August 2017. They also conducted Medical and Dental conferences for local professionals as additional services. These are on-going service activities that have been carried out over the last 11 years. 1754 patients were treated over the period, with some receiving major surgical treatment, a further 349 people were attended to by the dental unit.

Report on the Sai Medical Camp conducted in Fiji
13 to 19 August 2017,
by the Sai Medical Units of Australia and Fiji
a Zone 3 Activity

The 11th annual Sai Medical Camp was conducted in Fiji with the blessings of our founder, Sathya Sai Baba. The camp providing free medical assessments and treatments to those in need, was organised and staffed with volunteers from the Sathya Sai International Organisations of Australia and Fiji in conjunction with the Ministry of Health Fiji.

54 volunteers from various parts of Australia were joined by 7 from Fiji. Not all in the team were members of the Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO), but some were keen to join us, having heard of our work and the opportunity provided to serve those in need.

The Team

The medical team consisted of general practitioners, specialist physicians, a paediatrician, surgeons, an anaesthetist, gynaecologists, dentists, dental therapists, an optometrist, orthoptists, nursing specialists, pharmacists, a physiotherapist, nurse educators, IT personnel, medical students and general volunteers.

We were joined, as in the past by 16 students from the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine and Health Sciences and 2 from Monash Medical School, Melbourne.

Most of the team from Australia travelled to Nadi on 12 August and flew to Labasa the next morning.

Dr Gunu Naker and Lawrence Kissun travelled ahead of the team to finalise arrangements set in motion by them on a previous visit in May 2017.

Besides the rural medical camps in the island of Vanua Levu, medical seminars for the local general practitioners, health workers and students were conducted at the Sangam Nursing School in Labasa, Vanua Levu on 13 August and at the Umanand Prasad School of Health Sciences in the island of Viti Levu on 18 August. Both conferences attracted credit for the local Continuing Medical Education programme. The dental team conducted a similar conference for their colleagues in Labasa.

The theme for the conferences was Pain, with emphasis on musculoskeletal pain as this has been a common presentation at the previous visits.

90 attended the conference, including 37 from our team.

14 Dental Health workers attended the Dental Conference in Labasa.

At the UPSM conference several of the medical students and local general practitioners were in attendance. The Dean of the school opened the conference.

The camps were held at the Bulileka Sanatan College on 14 and 15 August and at Bocalevu Muslim Primary School on 16 and 17 August.

Medical Clinic

1754 patients registered for the medical camps and received 3700 services from the different disciplines. During the four days of the camps a total of 349 patients were attended to by the Dental team.

Dental Clinic

Over 1300 prescriptions were dispensed free.

There were a number of highlights during this camp.

Hon Ms Rosie Akbar, Minister for Health of the Government of Fiji attended the conference in Labasa and also visited the camp next day.

Hon Ms Rosie Akbar Minister for Health at the Labasa Conference, and Dr Gunu Naker

She was quite impressed with the large turnout of patients, the complexity of the organisation and the variety of services provided. It was also possible to raise some matters that would enhance the relationship between the Sai Medical units and the Ministry of Health of Fiji and in providing access to much needed equipment for the neurosurgical unit in Suva.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been suggested now between the Ministry of Health of Fiji and the Sai Organisation. This matter is to be pursued further.

For the second year, the surgical team was able to provide consultation, teaching and operations at the Labasa Hospital. This team also carried out surgery at the Lautoka Hospital for the first time on 18 August. A total of 9 major procedures were carried out at the 2 hospitals. The team had received medical supplies worth over $A50,000.00 from Johnson and Johnson Pty Ltd.

The feedback from the team has been positive and with constructive suggestions for further improvement. It was a challenging as well as rewarding experience to all.

Men’s Clinic and Education under a tree


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:

Ministry of Health Fiji, Sathya Sai International Organisation, Fiji, Fiji Airways and Fiji Link, Tanoa Group of Hotels, Sofitel Hotel, Grand Eastern, Friendly North Inn, Star Printers, Kirrawee Pharmacy, Eastbrooke Medical Centre Carlton NSW, Dalip Chand Bus service, Westbus Nadi, Vodafone Fiji, Tappoos Fiji, Bilileka Sanatan College, Bocalevu Muslim School, Hiralal and Sons, Sangam School of Nursing, UPSM and IJOF, Fiji College of General Practitioners.

Eye: Mr Ignatios Koukoouras of Design for Vision Australia, Mr Drew Johnson Allergan Australia.

Johnson and Johnson Pty Ltd, Storz, Melbourne University Health Initiative Material Aid Programme, St George Private Hospital, Wollongong Private Hospital and Wollongong Public Hospital.

The Dental Team were supported by contributions from the following companies and individuals: GC Australia, Critical Dental, Dentsply Sirona, Henry Schein Halas, Iso Diamant, Mr Martin Arstet. Eastern Suburbs Dental Study Group, President; Dr Michelle Heffernan, Colgate Palmolive, Dr Naina Kau Dr Nadeem Sattar Divisional Dental Officer, Northern Health Services. Dr Jiesa Baro Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Dental Principal Dental Officer, Mr Altaf Khan (Fiji, Dental Therapist), Ms Sheha S Prasad (Hygienist), Attul A Kumar (Student from Bulileka College), Medical Students from UPSM.

Composition of the Team

Medical clinics: 8 specialists, 7 general practitioners.
Surgical team Labasa Hospital: 2 surgeons, 1 anaesthetist, 1 theatre nurse, 1 ICU nurse
Dental clinic: 3 Dentists, 1 Dental Hygienist, 1 Educator, 1 Dental prosthetist, 3 Dental therapists.
Eye clinic: 1 Ophthalmologist, 1 Optometrist, 4 Orthoptists
Women’s clinic: 2 Gynaecologists, 1 Midwife nurse
Nurses’ stations: 5 nurses
Physiotheraphy: 1
Pharmacy: 4 pharmacists, 2 assistants
Patient Education: 2 members
Registration and record management: 9 members
18 Medical students (16 UPSM and 2 Monash) helped in different areas including history taking and examination under supervision, interpreting and setting up the clinics.
Local Volunteers 4

Below video is from a Local Fiji TV news which includes a segment on the conferences and camps.

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 Sai Medical Unit Australia & PNG
Coordinator Sai Medical Unit Zone 3