In the underserved areas of urban Bangalore, where many face the harsh realities of life, the absence of proper healthcare further worsens the challenges they endure.
Beyond our first initiative of expanding our Breakfast Seva, our volunteers devoted additional time daily engaging with parents, relatives, neighbours, and friends of the children from our Breakfast Seva schools. These interactions brought out immediate needs—ranging from clothing to basic medicines to stationery for the children etc. within the community. We would address these needs in quick time to the best of our abilities.
Then, a troubling trend surfaced during these conversations, especially among individuals aged 18-40. Many suffered from severe, non-communicable diseases like Type 2 diabetes, primary hypertension, and cardiac issues, conditions that could have been effectively treated in well-equipped medical facilities. Heartbreakingly, some in this age group had succumbed to their illnesses due to the lack of accessible healthcare. Compounding this crisis were middle-aged individuals, who, having undergone surgeries after immense sacrifices, found themselves unable to afford ongoing medical expenses. Forced to make agonizing choices between medication and sustenance, some resorted to irregular dosages or discontinued treatments, resulting in dire consequences, including loss of life.
Identifying the core issues at play—namely, lack of awareness, financial constraints, and inadequate prioritization—we resolved to take the problem head-on. With the guidance of a senior mentor and core volunteer, a distinguished scientist from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), we approached ISRO for assistance. Generously, they granted us access to their expansive community hall, enabling the commencement of Super Speciality Medicare Camps every first weekend of the month. These camps would provide the most holistic and compassionate healthcare, entirely free of charge to the people. Thus, Sai Aashraya embarked on a transformative journey into the field of healthcare, aiming to bridge gaps and bring healing to the most under served amongst us.
We began carrying the Super Speciality Medicare Camps in a temporary facility that we would put up every month in ISRO’s community hall. The facility itself was a self-contained one with all the diagnostics under roof. From monitoring vitals to conducting cutting-edge cardiac assessments such as ECG, 2D Echo with Color Doppler, all procedures were efficiently carried out in the venue itself. Alongside this, a month's supply of medicines was dispensed, and meticulous patient records were securely stored in the cloud.
The scope of services provided included General Medicine, Cardiology (Examination and Treatment), Gynaecology (OB/GYN Examination and Treatment), Ophthalmology (Vision and Retina Screening and Treatment), Neurology, Dermatology, Dental Screening, Periodic Cancer Screening.
An in house sample collection facility enabled us to process blood work efficiently. Most of the lab reports were given in half a day's time. Hundreds of pairs of glasses being compassionately provided at no cost to those grappling with vision difficulties. This transformative initiative was made possible through a valuable partnership with a leading eye hospital in Bengaluru. The profound impact of this endeavour was particularly evident among children facing visual challenges. With the ability to comfortably look at classroom boards, these young children not only experienced relief from headaches but also discovered a renewed energy for their academic pursuits.
Our dedicated team of doctors and volunteers invested countless hours in counselling sessions, guiding patients towards transformative diet and lifestyle changes. The impact of these interventions was significant, with an average attendance of 700 patients in our camps. Among them, 200 children and 500 adults received personalized care from our specialist medical team.
Beyond just the healthcare part, over a thousand meals were served during the two days of Seva. Beyond the immediate physical needs addressed, every patient and their attenders were given an experience they will forever cherish.
The impact that these camps had on the lives of the people is truly immeasurable. The holistic approach to health and well-being ensured that patients embarked on a transformative journey, marking the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. With regained health and revitalized overall well-being, individuals returned to their regular work routines with a newfound vigour. Even those accustomed to toiling through pain, such as vegetable and fruit sellers pushing their carts through the day, discovered a rejuvenated lease on life, often describing the sensation as having a spring beneath their feet.
Moreover, the positive changes extended beyond physical health. The reduction or complete cessation of smoking, drinking, and chewing tobacco contributed to a happier home environment. Notably, well-controlled Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension became tangible achievements, attributed to a combination of effective treatment, compliance to dietary and lifestyle changes, and consistent medication.
These health camps evolved into more than just medical interventions; they became vibrant occasions for community bonding. Residents from the neighbourhood and surrounding areas converged, creating a dynamic atmosphere for engaging conversations. The gathering provided an opportunity for inspiring discussions on personal betterment and bringing about positive impacts within the community, ushering in a transformative wave of change.
The inspiration and motivation we got from the success of these Medicare Camps resulted in us expanding to serving people in the remotest areas of our Motherland. Sai Aashraya’s Medicare initiatives have today touched the lives of over 85,000 patients and their families as of October 2023.
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