GLOBAL SAI HEALTH MISSION
Dr. Narendranath Reddy
IN A HISTORIC LETTER DATED 25TH May
1947, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, at the tender age of twenty, stated: "I
have a task: To foster all mankind and ensure for all of them lives full of
bliss. I have a vow: To lead all who stray away from the straight path again
into goodness and save them. I am attached to a work that I love: To remove
the sufferings of the poor and grant them what they lack."
Putting this resolute declaration into practice, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai
Baba has been working incessantly to bring about the joyous experience of
compassion and love to all mankind all over the world. While the work of
Bhagavan has spanned social upliftment, education, healthcare and
spirituality, it is the immeasurable impact He has had in each of these
fields that sets His work apart. What follows is a small description of the
expanse of His Healthcare Mission over the last fifty years.
Sai Ideal Healthcare
While there can be many hospitals for the poor, Bhagavan believed that free
healthcare, like free education and water, is an inalienable right of every
individual. The public healthcare projects began when Mother Easwaramma
suggested to Bhagavan to start a hospital for the poor. Thus began the
mission. Baba laid the foundation stone of the first free Sri Sathya Sai
General Hospital in Puttaparthi on 23rd November 1954. The five-room
hospital with 8 beds was inaugurated on 4th October 1956. Soon this hospital
began treating as many as 200 patients daily. Bhagavan visited the hospital
often and even looked after the patients Himself. In nearly 50 years
since, Bhagavan's Healthcare Mission has blossomed into a vast global system
delivering free healthcare in several countries practising the principles of
Sai Ideal Healthcare as taught by Bhagavan.
Healthcare implemented by Bhagavan has always been universally accessible,
state-of-the-art modern medicine and delivered with immense love, patience,
altruistic care and compassion. His Healthcare Mission involves thousands of
healthcare professionals in the world who espouse His philosophy and work
under His direction so that:
1. State-of-the-art healthcare is
made available to all people.
2. Economic considerations do not prevent anyone from receiving the highest
benefits of healthcare.
3. Healthcare is delivered with love and compassion.
4. Healthcare includes treatment of the body, mind, and spirit.
5. Prevention is a primary focus.
What began in 1956 as 8-bed Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Puttaparthi is
now a 100 bed hospital. Today the hospital serves people from distant
villages. Specialists from the world over come here for an experience of
selfless service and love. To the villagers it is state-of-the-art
healthcare next door. Besides the hospital in Puttaparthi, Sri Sathya Sai
General Hospital, Whitefield near Bangalore was started in 1976. This
hospital has in its three decade history treated over 2.20 million cases
from as many as 2,100 villages.
In addition, Bhagavan has built two major Super Speciality Hospitals, one
each in Puttaparthi and Bangalore, delivering tertiary healthcare. The
hospitals of Bhagavan are a shining example of how ideal healthcare should
be provided even to the poorest of poor patient with love and compassion
without any charge whatsoever.
Inspired by Bhagavan and with His
blessings, Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital, Rajkot, Gujarat was set up by Sri
Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of Gujarat in 1998. This is the only hospital
of its kind in Gujarat and the surrounding States offering quality
healthcare services absolutely free to the weaker sections of society.
Besides, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations have conducted 39,500 medical
camps all over India from 2003-2005 in which 5.2 million patients have been
seen. The Organisation also runs 24-hour blood donation services which have
received 28,625 donors in the last two years. In several cities 387 dental
camps have been conducted in which 53,256 patients have been seen and
treated. Bhagavan has also inspired 1983 eye camps serving 146,780 patients,
leprosy camps which served 1060 patients and multispecialty camps including
polio, diabetes and school health camps.
Veterinary camps are also held
regularly, and to date a total of 388 veterinary camps have been conducted
in which 34,811 animals have been treated.
International Delivery of Sai
From its humble beginnings in India, Bhagavan's Healthcare Mission has now
achieved global proportions. In order to facilitate international activities
with sustained energy and enthusiasm, an International Medical Committee was
set up with Bhagavan's blessings. These international activities can be
broadly classified under Ongoing Healthcare Delivery, Disaster Relief,
Medical Camps and Healthcare Services, Disease Prevention and Health
Ongoing Healthcare Delivery
Sri Lanka: A hospice built by the Sathya Sai Organisation of
Sri Lanka has been in operation since 2002 to provide loving, compassionate
care for terminally ill cancer patients. As one enters the hospice precincts
one sees the gleaming white dome of the attractive Sarva Dharma shrine.
Since its inauguration, 65 patients have been looked after in the hospice.
Philippines: A periodic monthly clinic is run in the
Philippines where about 100 patients are seen each month. In addition to
general medical care and health screening, acute cases are referred to local
hospitals and the expenses for some of the cases treated in the local
hospitals are paid for by the Sai Organisation.
Indonesia: For the last five years, a continuing effort to
provide free surgeries to the poor has been undertaken in Indonesia. As of
September 2005, 313 free surgeries have been performed for hernia, lymphoma,
cancer and heart disease. The Sathya Sai Organisation has provided free
vaccination for hepatitis-B since 1997 for 11337 children. Free clinics are
conducted in Jakarta and Medan on a daily basis providing treatment to 150
El Salvador: For the last 13 years, a regular free medical
clinic is operated by the Sathya Sai Organisation in El Salvador, where
nearly 12,000 patients have so far been treated.
Mexico: Since January
2001, the Sathya Sai Baba Organisation of Mexico has been running a medical
dispensary, entirely free of charge in one of the poorest and most populated
neighbourhoods of Iztapalapa district in Mexico City. To date, it has
provided healthcare to more than 20,000 patients
Guatemala: For the
past 8 years, a free medical clinic is conducted 4 times a week in the
premises of the Sai Centre in Guatemala 140 patients are seen each month for
diagnosis and treatment.
Ghana: Since 1978, the Sathya Sai Baba Organisation has been
organising a medical camp every Friday in Ghana and has treated about 5,000
patients since its inception.
Zimbabwe: For the last 14 years, a home is voluntarily run to
help the HIV victims by a Danish couple who have been Sai devotees for many
years. Many orphans who are the victims of the HIV epidemic are served with
Sai love in this home.
South Africa: In 1984,
a blood donation programme was initiated by Sri Sathya Sai Organisation of
South Africa. After 21 years, they are still actively conducting the blood
donation drive and on an average 10,000 pints of blood are donated each
year. Between 2003 and 2005, 30 medical camps were held and 1,620 eye
glasses were distributed after screening 2,700 patients.
Africa: With the blessings of Bhagavan, 3,244 cataract
surgeries had been preformed until September 2005 in Nigeria, Mombasa,
Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Abu Dhabi: A free Sai
medical clinic is operational on all Sundays and alternate Fridays offering
services like medicines, annual physical check-up and laboratory tests.
There are also regular medical camps every month serving approximately 100
New Zealand: In New
Zealand, 8 medical camps were organised from March 2004 to July 2005
focusing on disease prevention, education and health screening.
USA: In Northern
California, USA, a free medical clinic was opened on 8th January 2005. This
is called the Ashland Free Medical Clinic and is entirely run by volunteer
staff. About 12-15 patients are seen every Saturday for a variety of
ailments and treatment is provided to the patients free of charge.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has been organising effective worldwide
emergency relief from natural disasters occurring in several countries.
Relief has been organised for victims of earthquakes in South America,
tsunami in Asia, hurricanes in the USA and conflict-torn regions of the
In December 2004, the world was shaken by the devastation caused by the
Asian tsunami. Soon after, the damage was assessed through personal visits
by Dr. Reddy, Dr. Goldstein and scout teams. Relief was delivered within a
few weeks. Support was delivered to deep and secluded areas of countries
that were not readily accessible to several non-governmental organisations.
Several teams from the USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Malaysia,
Thailand, Philippines and the UK worked in places that were worst hit by the
disaster to provide immediate and follow-up relief. About 30,000
consultations in various specialties, 800 cataract surgeries, grief
counselling to thousands of people and 7000 pairs of eye glasses were
The Overseas Sathya Sai Organisation had also provided quick response and
medical help after the earthquakes of Talpetate, El Salvador in 2001 and the
February, 2004 earthquake in Karangasem village of East Bali.
In the USA, the recent hurricanes
Katrina and Rita had swept the States of Louisiana and Texas in a rage of
one of the worst natural disasters in American history The two States had
several million people displaced and turned into refugees overnight. The
Sathya Sai Organisation of the USA responded swiftly and organised medical
and emergency relief.
Medical Camps and Healthcare Services
In addition to disaster relief, the Overseas Sathya Sai Organisation has
conducted free medical camps and charitable healthcare services in several
countries. The global reach and magnitude of this effort has drawn wide
support and appreciation from local media and
A total of 336 medical camps were
conducted in the last 12 months when 77,000 patients were seen spanning the
world from Argentina to Zambia, in 30 countries and 6 continents. The camps
provide primary care, internal
medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics-gynaecology and specialties like
cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology and ophthalmology. Patient
education is offered for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and
smoking cessation. Thus, the medical camps serve an essential role in the
Global Sai Health Mission by providing easily accessible healthcare to the
poor and needy.
In order to combat the spread of malaria, Sri Sathya Sai Baba Organisation
of Kenya has embarked on a remarkable mission called "Sainet Project" to
provide mosquito nets to the high-risk people such as pregnant women and
children below 5 years of age.
Health Education and Dissemination of Sai Ideal Healthcare
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has said that the duty of the physician is not
only to treat with love and compassion but to educate patients in healthy
living and thus prevent frequent visits to the physician and hospitals.
Besides this, a task was undertaken to educate healthcare professionals in
the principles and significance of Sai Ideal Healthcare. The first step in
this task was the International Medical Conference organised in September
2005.This conference was unique and the first of its kind in the world to
focus on delivering medical care with love, compassion and empathy.
Bhagavan's message to the healthcare profession is clear. Healthcare
delivery must be patient-centered and suffused with compassion, love and
genuine concern for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the
patient. It is remarkable that this holistic approach to healthcare delivery
was mirrored in the Medical Conference from its initial conceptualisation to
the final valedictory closing. The delegates took this message and
experience to their homeland and, through their own example, will serve as
beacons and examples of Bhagavan's teachings.
Healthcare Mission of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has blossomed from a free
hospital in India to span several continents actively delivering free
state-of-the-art medical care and primary prevention with love, compassion
and a patient-centred approach.
sourced: Sanathana Sarathi pgs 365 to 369 November,