SSSIO Healthcare Mission
The SSSIO provides free and timely healthcare for the needy around the world based on the principles of ‘Sai Ideal Healthcare.’ The SSSIO continues to practice, promote, and facilitate Sri Sathya Sai Healthcare Mission Worldwide.
Medical services are usually rendered in the following areas and examples of various humanitarian healthcare services are described below.
- Blood Donation (including blood, plasma, and platelets) Camps and Bone Marrow Drives.
- Medical, Dental, Vision, Health Awareness and Veterinary Camps.
- Mobile and Permanent Medical Clinics.
- Specialized Procedures and Surgeries (including eye, dental, cardiac, and gynecological surgeries, and endoscopy procedures).
- Medical Relief following natural disasters.
- Telemedicine: patient care, education and teaching programs for physicians and other healthcare professionals worldwide, including Sri Sathya Sai Hospitals.
SSSIO operates 45 permanent medical clinics and 2 mobile clinics around the world.
In 2020, the lockdown caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic placed significant limitations on in-person medical services. However, virtual communications created opportunities to educate both the public and medical professionals about diseases and caring for patients, particularly in times of Covid-19. In addition, SSSIO provided Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to many communities and to hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities to prevent and contain the spread of infection.
Education on COVID-19 Worldwide
The SSSIO hosted two Webinars on Covid-19 in April 2020. A webinar on State of the Art Management of COVID-19 was held for healthcare professionals on April 11, 2020 with experts in various medical specialties. And, on April 12, 2020, a webinar for the general public on Facts and Myths on Covid-19: How to Serve Society during this Crisis. Both webinars were well attended and provided opportunities to not only learn about the disease and the pandemic, but also have a dialogue with the attendees for better understanding. In the SSSIO website, a separate web page was created to provide reliable sources of information and answers to common questions for the Coronavirus disease.
Early in the pandemic, SSSIO volunteers recognized the acute need for PPE for healthcare workers. Volunteers from the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Cooksville in Mississauga partnered with a local manufacturer of face-shields and delivered 200 face-shields to the Brampton Civic Hospital (William Osler) on May 8, 2020. Volunteers from the Ladies Wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Cooksville and Toronto East donated 2,000 facemasks to the Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto during 2020.
An introductory workshop was arranged for physicians, for disseminating the teachings of Sri sathya Sai Baba about healthcare, known as ‘Sai ideal Healthcare.’
The pilot Introductory SSEHV Workshop for Health Care Professionals was developed in collaboration with the ISSE in the USA in June 2020 for clinic-based medical and public health professionals in Iowa. The workshop was further developed into a 3-hour session and offered to physicians on October 11 and all healthcare professionals on December 12, 2020. Key details about these virtual workshops are given below:
|Dates||Audience||Prior Introduction to SSEHV*||Participants|
|June 18 & 19||Clinic-based nursing, medical and|
public-health professionals (Iowa)
|No||June 18: 25|
June 19: 40
|October 11||Physicians (National)||Yes||Morning: 11|
|December 12||Any healthcare professionals(National)||Yes||Morning: 15|
*SSEHV – Sathya Sai Education in Human Values
The workshops were also intended to create awareness among healthcare providers about human values, to emphasize the importance of being exemplars of human values in their personal and work settings, and to explore the relationship of SSEHV to patient care and medical ethics. The workshops were met with enthusiasm and great interest. The goal for the future is to expand these workshops to a wider group of healthcare professionals in the U.S. and other countries around the world.
Free Medical Clinics/Clinic Services in USA
In 2020, due to COVID constraints, SSSIO was able to operate only two free Medical clinics to provide healthcare to the needy, in Florida and California. SSSIO healthcare professionals also worked with other charitable free clinics in Georgia and Colorado in providing free healthcare to the needy.
|Region||Name of Clinic||Frequency||Venue||Patient Visits||Medical Volunteers||Non-Medical Volunteers||Specialties|
|3||Atlanta Mission||One in January 2020 and One in February 2020||Atlanta, Georgia||30||7||0||General|
|3||St. Petersburg, Florida Free Clinic||Second or Third Saturday, monthly||St. Petersburg, Florida||52||5||1||General and ENT|
|7||Ashland Free Medical Clinic||Virtual/ Telemedicine clinic every Saturday each month and in person clinic twice a month||San Lorenzo, California||667||12||24||Remote as well in Person. Primary Care, Dermatology, Diabetic Nutritional Counseling, ENT, General Surgery, Physical Therapy|
|9||Southern Colorado Indigent Care Project||Patients seen Monday thru Friday through the year in the offices of private physicians||Colorado Springs, Colorado||320||15||3||Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Psychology|
Dental Hygiene Camp, St. Petersburg, Florida
A Dental Hygiene Camp was held at the Pinellas County Health Department on February 8, 2020. Patients were prescreened at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, and services were provided by 9 dental hygienists, 6 dental assistants, a dentist, a physician, 6 nurses, and 16 volunteers. A total of 54 patients received dental hygiene treatment. Patients were served breakfast and received dental hygiene products.
Ashland Free Medical Clinic in California – Celebrates 15 Years
For the past 15 years, every Saturday, SSSIO volunteers have provided free healthcare at the Ashland Free Medical Clinic (AFMC) in San Lorenzo, California, where primary as well as specialty medical care is rendered with the help of several hundred volunteers, local medical facilities, and dental college. More than 22,000 people have received free medical and dental care including primary medical services, mammograms, eye examinations, cataract surgeries, flu vaccines, etc. The patients were extremely grateful, and some of them were so inspired that they volunteer at the clinic.
Blood Donation Drive in Missouri
Sri Sathya Sai Center of St. Louis, Missouri held a community blood drive during July 1–3, 2020 in collaboration with the Mercy Hospital. Volunteers donated blood while adhering to social-distancing guidelines of COVID-19.
Masks and Face Shields Distributions
SSSIO volunteers across USA launched various service projects to alleviate the suffering of those impacted by the global pandemic. In Columbia, Missouri, SSSIO volunteers made over 190 face shields for caregivers at four healthcare facilities. More than 30 volunteers from Sri Sathya Sai Centers in Arizona and the local community made and distributed about 2,000 masks at homeless shelters, hospitals and to the elderly. Masks were given to the Navajo Nation, an indigenous community, who were heavily affected by the pandemic. In Colorado, an elderly SSSIO volunteer teamed up with seniors in a retirement home to make 150 masks for first responders, children’s hospital, and a local shelter.
Coronavirus Information Session
On March 2, 2020, the Sathya Sai Community Centre in Iztapalapa, a municipality of Mexico City, organized a Coronavirus information session with Dr. Rocio Sanchez, a specialist in epidemiology in Mexico’s Public Health Department. The goal was to educate the community about the origin of the virus, symptoms, and preventive measures. Participants were encouraged to share the information with their families and friends.
In April 2020, volunteers from the Sri Sathya Sai Group of Ponta Grossa in southern Brazil made cloth masks for a charitable institution that serves families with social vulnerability. They packaged each mask with an inspiring teaching of Sri Sathya Sai Baba on universal human values. Later, the volunteers displayed the masks on a clothesline in front of the SSSIO building, inviting anyone in need of a mask to take one for free. Many people stopped in front of the clothesline to take the masks, and some stopped just to read Swami’s teachings.
On December 27, 2020, in the city of Queimadas, in northeastern Brazil, 350 fabric masks were distributed to help local residents protect from Covid-19 pandemic, along with baskets of food.
In the months of February and March, 2020, 34 cataract surgeries were performed successfully. Due to the constraints of the pandemic, no surgeries were performed during April to October. In November 2020, as a slow recovery started and constraints relaxed, 10 surgeries were done in November and 5 in December. The SSSIO provided eye drops for patients, snacks and drinks for companions, a candle, and a photo of Saint Lucia (patron saint of the catholic church for eyesight), and a message from Sri Sathya Sai Baba on universal human values and love.
Members of Sri Sathya Sai Center in Trujillo made 200 masks and distributed them to the community. The SSSIO of Peru also distributed clothes in November 2020 at AH Cerro San Francisco and delivered 75 masks.
The Sri Sathya Sai Center of Miraflores gave an oxygen concentrator to assist cancer patients with Covid 19. In December 2020, a 10 cubic meter bottle for oxygen was procured, and in May 2021 another oxygen concentrator was purchased to help patients, sponsored by the SSSIO members in Paraguay.
A patient who benefited from the oxygen concentrator, said “I want to thank the Sai Organization of Peru for supporting my mother and also me with oxygen generators, while my pneumonia did not allow me to breathe. I am living today, due to the Oxygen generator provided by the SSSIO. Thank God that there are people like you who dedicate themselves to help others. I want you to continue helping people just as you have given us our lives back.”
Due to the pandemic, no medical and veterinary camps were held. However, from January 2020 a total of 127 people received healthcare services for hypertension, diabetes, thyroid, cancer, leukemia, renal failure, Covid-19, cancer, diabetes, and eye diseases. Diagnostic tests such as MRIs and CT scans were provided, and emergency care was offered.
Multifaceted Service in Australia
In July 2020, the SSSIO of New South Wales (NSW) Region East and NSW Region West organized a multifaceted service project called “Love in Action”. As part of this initiative, volunteers organized a blood drive at the Australian Red Cross.
‘Sai Health Week’ in Australia
The Sai Medical Unit in conjunction with the SSSIO of Australia organized a successful Sai Health Week during September 5–13, 2020. In Western Australia, a ‘Healthy Ageing Workshop’ was organized to raise awareness of important health issues for those over 40. The event also introduced attendees to Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s vision of ideal healthcare. A variety of topics covering vision, dental and general wellbeing were presented by young adults, and a group of medical and para-medical professionals. A number of other presentations were made in many parts of Australia by the Sai Medical Unit as part of Sai Health Week.
On August 15, 2020, a webinar on mental well-being was held for the Tamil Society in Canberra.
In conjunction with these efforts, SSSIO volunteers organized a webinar, R U OK Day, on September 6, 2020 – the annual mental health awareness day. The week was also commemorated with different daily health messages through short videos on Sai Australia social media.
|Sai Health Week 2020 | Sept 5–13, 2020|
|2. Dental Health|
|4. Allergic Rhinitis|
|6. Stress Alleviation Intervention|
|7. Myths about Colds|
|8. Healthy Brain|
|9. Back to basic-taking care of your spine|
Blood donation drives were held at the following locations:
Nadi Town Sai Center:
- February 29, 2020 – collected 61 pints
- December 12, 2020 – collected 47 pints.
Central Division/Nausori Sai Center:
- February 29, 2020 – collected 34 pints.
The Sai Medical Unit of Australia organized educational webinars for medical students, general practitioners, and other health professionals in Fiji, based on a needs assessment.
|1||May 28||Self-care and self-compassion||Psychologist|
|2||July 8||Clinical aspects of SARS-COV-2infection (Covid-19)||Infectious Disease|
|3||July 16||Fits Faints and Funny Turns||Emergency Medicine|
|4||July 23||Self-Care and Self Compassion Webinar||Psychologist|
|5||July 23||Gallstones and related complications||Upper GI Surgeon|
|6||July 30||Heavy Menstrual Bleeding||General Practitioner|
|7||August 6||Nephroticsyndrome in children||Pediatrician|
|8||August 6||Basics of Dermatology||Dermatologist|
|9||August 27||Dealing with Challenging Personalities||Clinical Psychologist|
|10||August 27||Assessment of Acute Suicide Ideation in a Young Person||Adolescent Psychiatrist|
|11||September 10||Management of GI Bleeding||Gastroenterologist|
|12||September 10||A Basic Approach to Backpain||Neurosurgeon|
|13||September 24||Understanding Anxiety and Depression||Psychiatrist & Therapist|
|14||September 24||Memory loss and dementia in the elderly||Psychiatrist|
|15||October 8||A basic approach to reading X-rays||Radiologist|
|16||October 8||Asthma||General Practitioner|
|17||October 22||Managing Conflict||Psychologist|
On average, 70-75 people attended each webinar.
Ten people donated blood in Auckland at a blood donation drive on March 11, 2020 as a valuable service to the community.
On February 1, 2020, a large Medical Camp was organized by the SSSIO of Nepal at Thulakhet in Pokhara, supported by 19 doctors, 26 paramedics and around 90 SSSIO volunteers. Sri Sathya Sai Mobile van was used during this camp. Volunteers served 735 patients and conducted 185 laboratory investigations, 135 electrocardiogram (ECG) examinations, more than 200 ultrasound scans, and more than 100 dental procedures. Seventeen patients were diagnosed with cataract and referred to a hospital where the cataract surgery was sponsored by the SSSIO of Nepal. Volunteers distributed 50 walking sticks to senior citizens and served hot meals to about 1,400 people.
Blood Donation Camp
In response to a national shortage of blood for transfusion, the SSSIO of Nepal launched a blood collection drive at various places utilizing the Sri Sathya Sai Mobile Van. The first blood donation camp was held at Lokanthali, Kathmandu on April 28, 2020, where 38 pints of blood were collected.
On September 6, 2020, volunteers from the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Colombo organized a medical camp in Moratuwa, a village that was adopted under the Sathya Sai Village Integrated Program in 2018. Volunteers from the western and southern regions which included two doctors, two pharmacists, and 10 young adults served 48 patients. To help in the early detection and management of Diabetes blood glucose levels were evaluated in 22 patients and based on the results 8 patients were referred to Panadura hospital for further treatment.
As part of vision services, 436 cataract surgeries were performed on patients from Hambantota, Vavuniya and Jaffna who were on the waiting list for surgery at local Government Hospital.
YAs volunteered in a nationwide blood donation campaign in conjunction with the Thaipusam celebration, collecting more than 2,000 pints of blood.
A healthcare webpage was launched in April 2020 for educating the public on a wide range of current healthcare challenges and raise awareness to maintain good health .
Four webinars were conducted with question and answer sessions on healthcare issues. In Ukraine, a webinar was held on April 4, 2020 on the topic, How to strengthen the immune system. A zone-wide webinar was held in Russia on September 13, 2020 on the topic, Acceptance and awareness - the key to recovery, Part 1, with 37 participants. The Part 2 webinar in this series was broadcast in Russia on November 14, 2020, with participation of 47 people. Another zone-wide webinar was organized in Russia on December 19, 2020 on dental care and prevention of diseases which was attended by 34 people.
A pediatrician and a medical psychologist organized two online webinars for patients with cancer on January 11 and September 13, 2020, on the topics of Self-love and Nonviolence, respectively. The two professionals also gave online consultations to 20 cancer patients and patients suffering from depression from September to December 2020.
An emergency physician did online consultations with 14 patients and recommended treatment for Covid-19 and other illnesses. In addition, medical assistance was provided to18 members of the SSSIO from April to December 2020.
In October 2020, during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, doctors and SSSIO members donated medicines, medical splints, clothing, and food items, which were distributed in the combat zone and hospitals for wounded soldiers.
In the Siberian region, an Oncologist conducted nine online consultations following the two-part zone-wide webinars held in September and November 2020.
Blood Donation Drive in Mauritius
In 2020, the SSSIO of Mauritius organized 25 blood donation drives and collected 2,598 pints of blood. Between July and September 2020, as Covid cases increased, volunteers organized several blood donation drives across the island. All safety protocols were implemented, including wearing face masks, temperature checks, and hand sanitization during the blood drive.
To raise the awareness and aid in better combating Covid-19, periodic updates on recommended precautionary measures against Covid-19 infections were sent by email and WhatsApp. In an effort to go beyond primary health care services which tend to focus on treating illnesses as and when they arise rather than on the prevention of disease articles on precautionary measures, good nutrition, and immune support were posted on SSSIO-South Africa healthcare webpage. The articles also included references to more detailed information on the SSSIO international website.
Medical and psychosocial tele-consultation services for devotees were launched on May 6, 2020.
Blood Donation Camps
On April 19, 2020, SSSIO volunteers in Bahrain organized two blood donation camps during the Covid-19 pandemic. Eleven volunteers donated blood, and on July 17, 2020, 20 volunteers donated blood following a request from the Salmaniya Medical Complex, a public hospital in Bahrain.
Blood donation drives were held on April 27, August 2, and September 23, 2020. Counselling and guidance for meeting the challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic were provided to 74 participants; 66 people also joined in an interactive session on the same topic.
A medical clinic opened on June 10, 2020 and served 270 patients. The monthly clinic operates with 8-10 physicians. The pharmacy is operated by 3 pharmacists and distributes medicines weekly free of charge. SSSIO members also rendered services in the Specialities of pediatrics, rheumatology, ENT, endocrinology gastroenterology, gynecology, and ophthalmology.
UK & Ireland
National Visors Project
Since the March 2020 lockdown due to the pandemic, there has been a severe shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In March 2020, SSSIO volunteers in UK undertook a national initiative, ‘National Visors Project,’ to supply hand-made protective shields or visors made with acetate material to protect healthcare workers. Over 4,500 handmade visors and 250 readymade visors were distributed free by the volunteers.
Sathya Sai Health Awareness Days (SSHAD)
SSSIO of UK conducted SSHADs in partnership with the National Health Service (NHS) and other national charities, including British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, the Stroke Association, and Alzheimer’s Society, to name a few. SSHAD events have become a regular feature at the request of local authorities, and often inaugurated by the Mayor and attended by local dignitaries.
SSHAD events were held in Leicester on February 1, and March 7, 2020. A health awareness talk was delivered in October 2020.
The Pinner Sai Center held a blood donation drive in April 2020, with much success. A blood donation drive was also organized on November 20, 2020 by SSSIO volunteers.