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Service Wing - Medical Camps 2011: India

The UK team was involved in marathon medical camps in India in December 2011. In particular the eye team had a huge challenge in trying to organise various sub teams for four consecutive camps within 3 weeks. Below is a synopsis of the camps held by the SSSSO UK (along with volunteers from USA/Europe/India), in December 2011.

Dwarka Eye Camp (11 to 15 December 2011): The SSSSO UK team was invited by Sanatan Sewa Mandal Trust to carry out an eye camp. The team comprised of 6 medical and 6 general volunteers. During the course of the camp around 1,800 patients were seen and 64 referred for cataract surgery. In total 1,463 pairs of glasses were dispensed.

Dwarka General Camp (23 to 25 December 2011): Following the eye camp, two medical professionals (ENT surgeon and Psychiatrist) along with a medical student spent two days at the Sanatan Sewa Mandal Trust for screening children. Around 150 children were seen, and new school clothes were distributed for all children at the campus.

Dang Medical Camp (17 to 22 December 2011): A group of over 50 medical and general volunteers from UK, Germany, USA and India participated in the Gujarat camp. The group was invited by the Manav Kalyan Trust Navsari. The team consisted of volunteers, GPs, Optometrists, Dentists, Gynaecologists, Paediatricians, Nurses, Pharmacists, and other health care professionals. In addition, there was an Ophthalmologist, ENT and Orthopaedic specialist. The host community provided translators, kitchen and registration teams.

The Dang district is one of the poorest districts in the country. Mythologically, it is related to the Dandakaranya of the Ramayana. It is said that during the exile, Rama passed through this area and the folk songs are replete with events from the Ramayana. Although the district has the highest rainfall in Gujarat, it still faces severe water scarcity. The common diseases of the district are scabies, TB, skin diseases and chronic anaemia, and it has the highest prevalence of leprosy in the state. Major health risks are malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water, and poor hygiene and sanitation.

The campsite was located within the grounds of a school for children with visual impairment. Over the course of six days, the team was able to undertake narayan and gram seva, in addition to the medical camp. Around 4,450 patients were seen (with around 7,500 consultations), 27 cataract operations were conducted, and 1,500 spectacles and 15 hearing aids dispensed. Narayan seva was served to over 9,000 people, Around 220 patients were referred to hospitals for further investigation and surgeries, and 4 children were referred to a special needs school – a sister charity of the host in Navsari

During the gram seva, clothes and new woollen knitted blankets for children, new saris for women and blankets for families were distributed. Rucksacks and stationery for the school children were also distributed.

Alike Eye Camp (26 to 28 December 2011): An eye camp was held at Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institution. The

camp was meticulously organised. The students acted as translators; they showed a lot of enthusiasm, talent and love. The SSSSO UK team with the support of local optometrists and ophthalmologists were we able to provide support to more than 2,000 patients.

Mysore Eye Camp (30 to 31 December 2011): An eye camp was held in conjunction with Saragur Vivekananda Hospital, in Mysore. Around 420 patients were seen.

Summary: It was truly a fantastic experience to watch the camps unfold and develop, and see people “change” in such a small timeframe. We were able to listen, understand, empathise and where possible give direction, advice or medicine to those who were suffering from illness, hardship and poverty. We were constantly reminded of Bhagwan’s immortal messages of “Love all, Serve all” in order to realise the divinity within us. Although logistics were extremely challenging, all this was only possible with the blessings and immense love of Bhagwaan Baba.

Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation United Kingdom