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UK Healthcare Activities

Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day, Sunday 7th July 2013
Eastleigh Mela, Region 6

The Service Wing of R6 of the Sri Sathya Service Organisation UK conducted a very successful Health Awareness Clinic on Sunday 7th July at Eastleigh recreation ground. The event was coordinated by the Asian Welfare and Cultural Association, with the support of Hampshire County Council and other local agencies.
There was an air of carnival throughout the day, with various colourful and cultural acts, music and dance from around the world, such as a lion dance, Indian dance, steel drumming, performances from Brazil and India, Irish dances and Bhangra, and Steel and Reggae bands.

It was a lovely sunny day (28 degrees!) and the volunteers were very grateful to be allocated an area in the shade of tall and fragrant lime trees, in the comfort of 7 separate gazebos, which were ideal for shade and privacy. The volunteers had arrived from four groups and centres in the region, namely Farnborough, Basingstoke, Southampton and Portsmouth, and included three doctors, one dentist, six nurses, and several nursing assistants, as well as general volunteers. There were a large number of Nepalese volunteers and interpreters.

The volunteers welcomed the members of the public and helped them through the various health checks: those included blood pressure, blood sugar, BMI checks, Diabetes risk assessment, and dental checks. The doctors were on hand to discuss the results of the checks, and provide advice and guidance in a friendly and unhurried manner. About 200 hundred people from all ages and ethnic backgrounds benefitted from the health checks, including the Lord Mayor of Eastleigh! People were very pleased to be able to discuss their problems in a calm and friendly atmosphere, and receive professional advice on healthier lifestyles.

The feedback received speaks for itself, and some of the comments from the public included: “A good idea to have a health screen, because when you are working you do not have time to visit your local GP”, “Brilliant service”, “Excellent. Good to have in an unthreatening environment”, “Good experience, polite people offering helpful information”, “ Good advice given and really happy with overall check up”, “Lovely surprise having this here today. Wonderful people giving the public a great service. Thank you so much”, “Thank you very much for this service. Very helpful and charming Doctors”, “Very good. Kind and helpful”, “Very impressed with the service and the information provided”, “Very nice service. Everyone was very helpful”.

The volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the day, happy to be serving the community, and enjoying the events of the day as well! A big thank you to all who helped to make this day such a success and spread the message of our Beloved Lord Sai, “Love all, Serve all.”

Pierrette Poirot
Region 6 Spiritual Coordinator

Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day, 13th - 14th July 2013
Newham Mela, Region 3

Sizzling sunshine was the backdrop of the free family fun at the Mayor's Newham show in East Ham's central park on the weekend of 13/14 July this year. With residents in huge numbers expected for the annual fiesta, a free walk-in health awareness day was organized by the London Borough of Newham- Public Health in partnership with the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organization, UK.

The NHS had organized a free health check which included BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checks. This was done to help prevent the onset of heart disease, Stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia. It was a pleasant surprise to see the NHS run the health check-up unit in the same model as the Sathya Sai medical camp, a testimony to the change that our model can infuse in the authorities that we partner with. It was in accordance with Swami's advice regarding preventive care that "Doctors can bring home to the authorities their responsibility in the area of preventive measures. What is the use of spending millions on curative measures without promoting health? It is a waste of money”. The Sathya Sai service wing had setup free check-ups in the disciplines of Eye and Dental care along with the GP’s advice that included Pediatrics and Cardiology. There were a team of qualified, dedicated medical professionals who supported these initiatives: 2 doctors in the eye unit, 2 doctors in the dental unit and 5 doctors for GP advice - available on both days. The NHS had provided the mobile eye and dental units as doctors served their patients with loving concern and most importantly with a smile as per Swami’s dictum that “a patient feels reassured when he sees the smiling face of a doctor”.

The camp was also well manned by the volunteers who served with love while carrying out the various tasks. Following the NHS health check-up, people were directed to the registration counters, where they were advised on the various health check options offered by us. After completing the formalities of filling up the registration forms, they were then guided to the respective units by the volunteers. The queue at each of the units were managed by the cheerful and smiling volunteers who provided any assistance required by the people and ensured the smooth running of the service camp. After the check up and advice, doctors filled the forms with the results that were then digitally captured. All the doctors made truly earnest effort to educate the people in health and hygiene and impress on patients how food habits and lifestyles affect life and cause diseases in general. On the discretion of the doctors, GP notification letters were given wherever required for further checks with the local GP.

Overall, the 200 people who utilized the services appeared very grateful and happy to be able to undergo the checks. Especially they could combine this with the fun filled activities available at the carnival for all the family, making it a perfect day out for many residents both in Newham and surrounding boroughs. Those who utilized the services were surprised to know that the volunteers and doctors were doing it as a free service, sacrificing their personal time, and the NHS was very appreciative of this systematic and sustained annual initiative which the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation, UK has undertaken in recent years. For the doctors and the volunteers, it was a very good opportunity to render service to the local community. As Swami had said "In regard to any action, if it is done with a pure heart and good intentions, it is bound to be successful" and the health awareness day was indeed so – according to those who witnessed it.

Region 3 - Sudhir Shetty

Service for Sierra Leone, July 2013
Tooting, Region 1

In preparation for the upcoming Healthcare Camp in Yonibana, Sierra Leone, members of Tooting Sai Centre and their friends came together in July to undertake the service of packing medicines and boxes containing various items. This happens every year and a container full of supplies is shipped out to serve our needy brothers and sisters in this West African country.

The first stage of the 'packing' day was the 6th of July when about 18 members turned up to a devotee’s residence to sort, pack and categorise numerous items such as clothing, medical equipment, shoes, educational books, shelving, paediatric beds, assorted furniture, donated material from Thornton Heath Sai Centre for use at the Sai Centre in Yonibana, fans, crutches, children’s slide and children’s toys. Approximately 60 boxes were packed on that day and there were another 50 boxes already packed from last year including 13 bicycles! It was an exhausting but highly satisfying day for all of us. As always, Swami gives us the strength and resources to do His work!
Thereafter for the next 2 weeks, there was a steady flow of further materials from devotees and medical personnel for use at the Yonibana Sai Hospital in Sierra Leone. Again all these items had to be packed, ready for the container. But on the penultimate day, right at the last moment, Swami surprised us with the delivery of yet another consignment of 20 folding beds, toilets and sinks!

On the actual day when the container was to be loaded, we allowed 3 hours for 20 volunteers to load all the items. This year, a 40 foot container was procured so as to accommodate and transport all the items collected. However, as the container arrived, the driver could not back it onto the driveway! We had clearly underestimated the size of this enormous container!

With the container lorry now on the road, the ardous task of loading all the items began. Even as this process was underway, a last minute delivery of five granite slabs arrived! These had to be carefully negotiated as they were extremely heavy yet fragile. This was a special delivery requested by Yonibana Sai Centre for the tombstone of our dear departed Victor Kanu who was a very ardent and close devotee of Swami. Towards the end of the loading, we realised that there was still some space left in the container so one car was dispatched off to the local DIY store to purchase 500 bricks, buckets and paint brushes. Three other cars made further journeys to pick up additional doors, shelving, cabinets and large refuse bins.

The container will now makes its journey to Sierra Leone over the next six weeks. The next medical camp to go out there is in October this year, so the container should arrive well in time for the 25+ strong group flying out there.
A smaller group is going there a few days before the main group to install the IT system in the hospital as well as starting prevention programmes in the local Community. The EHV programme has also started at the Sai Centre there. This Yonibana Sai Hospital project demonstrates that what was initially only a medical camp in 2006 when it first started, has now expanded into a well integrated, sustainable service activity addressing the healthcare, sociocare, educare, aquacare and envirocare needs of the local populace. One can only marvel at how Swami arranges everything when we offer ourselves as humble instruments in His Divine hands. Every year, we agonise that we may not be able to offer another container due to various constraints, yet somehow Swami just makes things happen! We pray to Him for His Grace so that we may continue to serve our needy brothers and sisters and fulfill our lives in His Mission.

Jitesh Patel
Tooting Sai Centre