With the blessings of Sathya Sai Baba, the Sathya Sai Medical Units of Australia and Fiji carried out the 13th annual Medical Camp in Fiji between 12th and 16th August 2019 at Dreketi Central College and Korotari Arya Primary School in the rural areas of the Island of Vanua Levu, Fiji.
The planning for this service project commenced with the opening of online registration for willing participants on 23rd November 2018 and closed at the end of February 2019. In May 2019, Dr Gunu Naker, Dr Parvin Ishri, Lawrence Kissun and Dr Narendran Nadanachandran went to Fiji for a few days to organise or confirm:
- Venues for camps and education workshop
- Internal transport catering and accommodation for the team
- Registration for medical personnel as required by law,
- Custom clearance for equipment and materials required by the team for the camps
- With Labasa Hospital and Community Health seniors, informing them of the camps and the intention to hold an education workshop targeted to Junior Medical Officers
- Notifications to local community health centres and local police of the organised camps
- Advertising for the camps in the news media with local papers and radio stations
- Repairs for dental equipment
Most of the team from Australia travelled to Nadi on 10th August and flew to Labasa the next morning.
The medical team consisted of 8 Dentists, 1 Dental Prosthetist, 1 Retired Endodontist (Education), 22 Doctors (including 1 Geriatrician, 1 Paediatrician, 1 Rheumatologist, 1 Infectious Disease specialist, 1 Emergency Physician, 1 Dermatologist, 1 Gynaecologist, 1 Psychiatrist, 1 Clinical Psychologist, 1 Mental Health Counsellor, 1 Surgeon, 2 Anaesthetists, 1 Neurosurgeon (retired), 7 GPs), 1 local medical officer (Fiji), 2 Pharmacists, 1 Physiotherapist, 7 Nurses, 15 General Volunteers, 4 Medical students from Australia and 20 senior students from the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine (UPSM), Saweni, Fiji.
The camps were held at the Dreketi Central College on 12th & 13th August and at Korotari Arya Primary School on 14th & 15th August 2019. 1018 patients registered for the medical camps over the four days and received a total of 1775 consultations from the different disciplines.
The patient’s journey through the camp:
The patient experience starts by taking a token number and waiting for their turn for registration
During this time, the education team make patients aware about lifestyle changes, importance of exercise, Diabetes, Hypertension, personal hygiene, anxiety and stress management and also have segregated sessions for men’s and women’s health issues.
Following registration, the patient has their blood pressure and blood sugar level screened at the nurse’s station. After triage the patient is directed to one or more clinics depending on their needs.
General volunteers then usher the Patients to the various clinics as required.
General Medical Clinic
A follow-up system was well facilitated by the medical officer Dr Shristi, during the Dreketi camps, and the referral pathway organised by Dr Narendran Nadanachandran through the hospital clinics and registrars.
With a Physiotherapist on the team, the doctors were able to refer several patients with musculoskeletal problems to him for education, preventative instruction and treatment.
The Mental Health and Stress Management Clinic
A total of 23 females and 10 males were seen over the 4 days of the camps. Main presentations included: Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders and Relationship issues amongst others.
A men’s group, comprising of about 27 attendees each day, was also facilitated by the Mental Health Counsellor, along with a male medical student. These male group attendees were seen to mostly have substance related disorders, somatoform disorders and relationship stressors.
The Women’s Clinic
A total of 78 women had consultations over the 4 days of camps. Some of the main reasons for attending included routine pap smears, infertility issues and abnormal uterine bleeding.
The pharmacy team in full flow (above) as they served 655 patients and dispensed 1247 items over the four days.
The Dental Clinic
The dental team saw a total of 324 patients over the 4 days and provided a total of 508 services.
Services included Extractions, simple restorations (fillings), denture repairs, relines, additions and a few new partial dentures.
An essential part of the dental service is prevention. Dr Martin focused on individual and small groups of patients to educate them on the importance of good oral hygiene and good dietary habits.
The role of students
15 General volunteers were assigned to different roles including, patient registration, data recording, catering, general organising etc. With meticulous planning, organising and execution of their tasks, the general volunteers worked in the background, allowing the medical personnel to perform their services.
Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and evening meals were prepared for the whole team everyday.
Labasa Hospital Education Workshop
On Wednesday 14th August 2019, a full-day education workshop was organised at Labasa Hospital. The teaching format of the workshop was interactive, discussion–based teaching style. The workshop was attended by a total of 40 people including 11 final year medical students, 15 interns, 5 registrars, 3 general practitioners and 5 dentists from the hospital. Various topics were presented and the education initiative was well received. CME points were approved for the participants of the workshop.
The surgical team was scheduled to work at Labasa Hospital from 12th -16th August. Unfortunately due to various unforseen operating theatre issues, the team was unable to operate on the last two days.
11 patients were seen in a clinic and 4 on the wards. Out of the 11 cases that were scheduled for operations, the team had an opportunity to complete 8 cases.
The Surgical team shared knowledge with the local team in an encouraging way inviting exchange of information.
Visit by Dr Waqainabete, Minister of Health
On Thursday 15th August, Dr Waqainabete visited the camp at Korotari Arya Primary School. Dr Waqainabete was very appreciative of the services provided by the team. Going forward he urged the organisation to consider a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health.
Age Care Conference
A medical conference on Age Care was conducted at the University of Fiji Hall, Saweni Campus, Lautoka on 16th August for the local GPs and students. It was organised in conjunction with the Sai Medical Units of Australia and Fiji, Umanand Prasad School of Medicine and Health Sciences and The Fiji College of General Practitioners.
6 Presenters presented the following topics:
Dr Ketan Bhatt (Geriatrician); Delirium – a Geriatric emergency,
Vicgnesai Tharmarajah (Physiotherapist); Ageing Knees,
Dr Ramini Sivakadadchan (Psychiatrist) and Dr Hemalatha Jayaram (Clinical Psychologist); A Brief overview of late life Depression,
Dr Divya Karna (Emergency Specialist); Emergency Protocol for Coronary Syndrome and
Dr Shakti Gounden (Dentist): Dental issues as we age.
The conference was well attended with 20 doctors and medical students from all years. There was some good interactive discussion on the topics convened by Dr Rajat Gyaneshwar.
I am truly brought to the awareness that our Sai Baba is always with us, whenever we are trying to do His work! I did not requested for any BSL test strips, as I had boxes of them. But that carton that it was in was missing! For no reason sister Parvin brought enough of the strips to last us until the last day. To me that is enough a miracle of Sai Baba to tell me that He is with us.- Swee Ching Leong
I enjoyed performing my volunteer tasks at the Sai medical camp. Thanks to you all for having trust in me. The four days went so fast. We learn to perform better everyday and hope next year it will be much better than 2019. Amazing I did not see any food wastage in the dining hall. I have already bought some small kitchen items for next year. – Indrani Hans
Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the Sai Medical Camps. I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s camp, especially sharing with my sleeping buddy. It has allowed me to forge friendships and relationships with people that I would otherwise never have met and allowed me to learn new things from a variety of people. I have taken away some treasured memories of the experience and have chatted with many about it; my mother asked me to go and talk to her multicultural choir, so I was able to share some of my photos and stories with them. Most of my work colleagues are very interested in what I did and were keen to listen to the stories and see my photos. I think the camps are amazingly run, with a fantastic group of volunteers each bringing their own skills and expertise to the camp. – Jenni
I express my gratitude to you all and Sai Baba for the incredible, fulfilling experience that I have been fortunate enough to experience yet again this year. It certainly elevates me to a different level, in all domains of rendering service, friendship, sharing fun and a feeling of closeness to Baba, and knowing that I am being blessed by him. And for these I would love to go again and again. Extra special on its own is connecting with the humble, simple people of Labasa, and giving them a small part of me to possibly make the slightest difference in their wellbeing. It was so magical to witness the way that all involved conducted themselves in the name of Serve All and Love All. – Damyanti
The week long Medical Camp was a blissful experience for me spiritually and otherwise. For me it was an opportunity to serve our beloved Sai Baba and to get more acquainted to
my fellow Sai devotees and establish closer relationship with them.- Mata Prasad
The Sai medical camp was a great experience for me. It offered a unique and fascinating insight into rural health care that I have never experienced before. It’s an honour practicing with other health professional who were very successful in their own field. It was a great pleasure being part of the team. I was very satisfied with what we able to do and very happy that we could utilise our skill to help an underprivileged community. By interacting with this community, I realised how fortunate we are. This realisation helped me to be more appreciative, thankful and loving, which will help me a lot with my daily living. I also felt satisfied that I was helpful. This was the first time that I felt happy and satisfied with who I am and what I am able to do. Overall, the Sai medical camp was a great experience for me and I would love to come back next year.- Hannah Zhang