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Foundation Practices Gandhian Philosophy at Health Fair

June 2003
Foundation Practices Gandhian Philosophy at Health Fair

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others" - MK Gandhi.

At 6:30 AM on April 26, 2003, an air of assurance began to permeate the Christian Assembly Hall in the Cherian Complex in Decatur, Georgia.���The reason: a team of over forty service?oriented doctors and 55 volunteers was on hand to offer health care without requiring appointments or insurance. Over 300 patients, including the elderly and the young, attended the SAI Health Fair, whose champions included the Gandhi Foundation and Dr. Sujatha Reddy. The fair was the culmination of three months of meticulous planning by an organizing committee consisting of Dr. Sujatha Reddy, Anthony Thaliath, Subash Razdan, Giriraj Rao, Kumkum Kashiparekh, Raj Ravulapalli and Vinod Patel. "For the volunteers, it has been a fulfilling experience," said Anthony Thaliath, an Officer of The Gandhi foundation. Similar sentiments were echoed by Padmalatha of the Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA).

The mission of the SAI Health Fair was to provide patients with not only basic quality screening, but also an opportunity to consult face-to face with specialists about ongoing or newly diagnosed medical problems. Physicians from eighteen different specialties were present along with over fourteen nurses, including five from the Macon area, who drew blood and performed lab profiles, chemistry profiles, lipid profiles, thyroid profiles, prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests, and sickle cell preps. In fact, people began lining up early morning to have their blood tested for a fee of $15. In addition, individuals from the DeKalb Health Department were in attendance to do P.P.Ds. Other health care providers educated the public on diabetes. Organizers had also arranged free Dexascan to perform bone density tests, and patients were offered EKGs at no cost.

The fair was an invaluable opportunity for individuals to have thorough medical screening done for early detection of diseases. The care given at the fair might not otherwise have been available to those who attended either because they lack medical insurance, have coverage restrictions placed on them by managed care companies, cannot wait to get an appointment with a specialist, or cannot afford the high cost of lab tests, physician fees, and emergency room visits. "Too often, we hear of illness and/or death that could have been prevented if it had been detected at an early stage," said Dr. Sujatha Reddy.

The Gandhi Foundation extended its appreciation to Dr. Sujatha Reddy and her colleagues for joining it in organizing the fair. At the completion of the fair, Dr. Reddy awarded certificates and mementoes to the volunteers. This year's Sai Health Fair was the third such fair organized by Dr. Reddy, and in her remarks, she expressed how fulfilling it always is for her to serve people through health fairs, and how this particular one is special because it espouses the causes of the "Father of the Nation." In addition to thanking healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, and volunteers, the Gandhi Foundation was also grateful to Cherians, Udipi Caf�, the Medical Center of Central Georgia-Lab, and corporations such as Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and Relaxinn for helping to make this event a grand success.

- Uma Maheswar Desu

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