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Top photo: Narayan Swamy. Bottom
photo: Vinod Devlia
BY MAHADEV DESAI
Despite heavy rain in the early hours of Sunday, March 27, 2011, over 400 people came for medical services to the 26th SAI Health Fair, held at the Impact Conference Center, Global Mall, Norcross, Georgia. The Health Fair, as always, was spearheaded by well-known physician, Dr. Sujatha Reddy as a tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi and also to promote their philosophies of non-violence, selfless service and social justice. The event was sponsored by the Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPI) and strongly supported by Global Mall, Sneham Charities, physicians, health care professionals and volunteers. This is GAPI’s 4th health fair this year under the leader ship of President Dr. Sreeni Gangasani. Others were done in different parts of the state to provide free services to uninsured and underinsured in the state of Georgia.
Over 400 people of diverse nationalities and cultures from all over Atlanta availed themselves of the free consultancy and tests services provided by over 30 dedicated physicians representing 16 specialties, 9 nurses and EKG technicians and over 40 service-oriented volunteers including from Georgia State University, Emory Medical School and UGA’s Athens College of Pharmacy who attended to the various health related concerns of the people after they registered for blood tests, free EKGs, free glaucoma and vision screenings, preventive Cardiology tests, free Bone Density tests to detect osteoporosis and free consultancy in dermatology, orthopedics, dentistry, endocrinology, internal medicine, cardiology, ENT, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, chronic pain, gynecology, and physical rehab medicine.
Many, including elderly and disabled people, lined-up as early as 8.00 a.m. to attend the fair. The spacious and well-lighted hall contained neatly laid out tables, and comfortable seating arrangements for the attendees. The physicians, nurses and volunteers treated all with cheerfulness, courtesy and dignity and in a relaxed manner. Over 175 EKGs (male and female) were carried out, by Cardiovascular Group PC, Lawrenceville. Dr. Nikil Patel, Dr. Manan Shah and Dr.Vidhya Phoenix did over 100 vision and Glaucoma screening tests, while Dr. Sridhar Krishnamurthy from Auburn University performed over 26 audio screening tests. Bone Mineral Density screening tests were in big demand More than 35 bone-density tests, were performed by a team of Madhusudhana Siddagunta and Vijaya Reddy, Leela Kaul,and Vasantha Bhandari. Majority of the attendees wanted blood tests. Over 215 cost–effective, basic quality comprehensive chemistry profile of blood tests with PSA, and HBA1c were carried out at a nominal fee of $20 per test. American Labs provided the lab work. It is noteworthy that the results of the blood work were mailed within 48 hours! The test results helped identify some life threatening results that were immediately notified to the participants.
A Bone Marrow Drive had also been arranged to help 6-year-old Uma. Dr. Indira Menoon from the Eye Physicians and Surgeons was manning the table where the attendees were exhorted to sign up with Bone Marrow Registry for this worthy humanitarian cause.
Amee Khamar from Emory University had set up an impressive and educative display for its SHAPE Diabetes Prevention Program. Amee thanked Dr. Sujatha Reddy for the opportunity to participate in the Sai Health Fair to promote its research program as diabetes is a major health issue in the South Asian community.
UGA College of Pharmacy students gave information about medications and also helped in the triage area.
SAI Health Fair arranged for snacks and beverages for all the participants. Charter Anchor Hospital, Forest Park kindly provided fruit trays, water bottles, cookies and fruit juice, while Swapna Restaurant provided delicious lunch for all the doctors, nurses and volunteers.
SAI Health Fair publicity and coverage was carried by Khabar magazine, India Abroad, Nripulse.com, wownow.com, Kavitachhibber.com and Atlantadunia.com. In addition, presidents of several local Associations also helped to notify their members about the Health Fair. Narayan Swami and Vinod Devlia provided photography services, while Ravi Ponangi and Mahadev Desai did the press coverage.
An elated Dr. Sujatha Reddy thanked owner of Global Mall, Shiv Aggarwal for providing the accommodation and help in staging the Health Fair. She also thanked Mustafa Ajmeri and Ravi Ponangi for providing office space for lunch. She further thanked supporting sponsors; the team of physicians, nurses, students and dedicated volunteers who together helped make the Health Fair a big success. The mission of the SAI Health Fairs is to create an awareness of the importance of preventive health care among the public-detection, prevention and cure. Too often you hear someone say, “If only we had known all of this could have been prevented.”
SAI Health Fairs are shining beacons of outreach of medical services and vehicles of social service and welfare for the disabled, aged, and needy and neglected in the society. Inspired by Dr. Sujatha Reddy’s compassion, dedication and commitment, many selfless physicians, Health Care professionals, volunteers, Community and Faith-based organizations have joined their hands in successfully staging these Health Fairs. Most of the physicians, nurses and volunteers on her team have been participating over and over again.
An ebullient Dr. Gangasani commented, “I am happy GAPI is now getting involved with more health and education related charitable activities. GAPI has also opened a GAPI Volunteer Clinic at the Global Mall, to see uninsured on regular basis. In these tough economic times I want people to utilize these opportunities to maintain a healthy life. I would like to thank Dr. Sujatha Reddy, all the physicians, nurses and volunteers from bottom of our hearts for taking part in today’s outstanding Sai Health Fair.”