BY MAHADEV DESAI
Atlanta: Due to good weather and rising popularity, the 20th SAI Health Fair, sponsored by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA), and held at the Global Mall, Atlanta, on Saturday, September, 2008 elicited a huge response. The Health Fair, was, as always, spearheaded by well-known Macon-Atlanta physician, Dr. Sujatha Reddy and was organized as a tribute to the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi on his 139th Birthday anniversary and also to promote his and Dr. Martin Luther King’s philosophies of Non-violence, community service and Social justice.
On a beautiful summer morning, over 600 people of diverse nationalities and cultures from all over Atlanta availed themselves of the free consultancy and tests services provided by 30 dedicated physicians representing 18 specialties, 14 nurses and technicians and over 45 service-oriented volunteers who attended to the various health related concerns of the people after they registered for blood tests, free EKGs; free glaucoma screenings; audiogram- hearing screenings, preventive Cardiology tests, free Bone Density tests to detect osteoporosis and Free Consultancy in homeopathy, dermatology, endocrinology, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Pediatrics, Podiatry, ENT, gastroenterology, urology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, dentistry, and physical therapy.
Many including elderly and disabled people lined-up as early as 6.45 a.m.The spacious and well- lighted twin halls in the Global Mall had neatly laid out tables, where over 200 EKGs were provided by Commerce Cardiology Group, Commerce, Cardiovascular Group, Lawrenceville,GA.
Five Fellows- Emory University School of Medicine carried out the Cardiovascular Risk Assessment tests.
Over 30 audiogram tests were conducted by Sridhar Krishnamurthy, Girish Enterprises, from Auburn, Alabama, many of which showed abnormal hearing problems.. Over 60 Glaucoma screenings were done by Dr. Indira Menon from the Eye physicians and surgeons, Decatur, Georgia. Bone- density tests were in big demand About 75 plus bone-density tests were performed by.Madhusudhana Siddagunta, Roger Allen and Elizabeth Allen., under the Supervision of Dr. Sujatha Reddy. Blood tests too were in big demand. Over 236 cost –effective, basic quality comprehensive Chemistry profile of blood tests with PSA, HBA1c, and Sickle cell prep. were carried out at a nominal fee of $15 per test. The lab work was provided by Medical Center of Middle Georgia Lab., Macon. It is noteworthy that the results of the blood work were mailed within 48 hours! The test results helped identify some Life threatening results which were immediately notified to the participants. Education and advice on diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and exercise was presented by Clinical nutritionist Geeta Mehrotra. Dr.Rohini Reddy gave helpful hints on stress management. Bone Marrow Drive was dedicated to the Award-winner neurosurgeon, Prof. and community activist in Toronto,Ontario,Dr.Abhijit Guha and 34 year old design engineer Manish Bhardwaj,in Austin Texas, who is afflicted with leukemia and needs a life-saving bone marrow transplant at the earliest.
Jim Cunningham, -Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals arranged for the complimentary breakfast for participants,doctors,nurses and volunteers whereas Pfizer and Forest Pharmaceuticals provided delicious lunch for all the doctors,nurses and volunteers, catered by Sri Krishna Vilas Indian Cuisine. SAI Health Fair publicity and coverage was provided by Khabar magazine; India Abroad, Little India, nripulse.com, and Atlantadunia.com. In addition, Presidents of several local Associations also helped to notify their members about the Health Fair. Digital video and Photography services were provided by G.V.Rao and Mahadev Desai.
Dr. Sujatha Reddy thanked Shiv Aggarwal of Global Mall, for his generosity in providing the accommodation to stage the Health Fair and also Gokul Kunnath for arranging accommodation at Best Western and Shaun W.Thomas-Janssen Pharmaceuticals for providing dinner, for out-of-town nurses She further thanked Janssen Pharmaceuticals, 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. “Cure the patient today and protect the community tomorrow. Too often we hear of illness that could have been prevented if it had been detected earlier” is the guiding motto.
SAI Health Fairs are shining beacons of outreach of medical services and vehicles of social service and welfare for the disabled, aged, needy and neglected in the society. Inspired by Dr.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. Restless and driven, self-effacing Dr. Reddy is a living proof that even one person can make a difference. She has perceived the acute need for such Health Fairs, in view of the rising numbers of people without health insurance and is striving relentlessly to contribute all she can in meeting the immense need..