Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

14 December 2012

Tanzania, India in Alliance to Reassure Heart Patients

CARDIAC or heart complications may not be the number one killer in the country. It may not be one of the top killers in the community either.

But there can be no doubt that heart problems drain the nation of millions annually and that makes it a serious problem that grows bigger and bigger by the year. India as Tanzania's friend, has stepped in with charity financial aid through a charity organization of Sathya Sai Society with a branch in the country and given much assistance in a cash and material to Uhuru Mchanganyiko School for Disabled in Dar es Salaam.

The school is under the care and guardianship of Sathya Sai Society of Tanzania which has provided free meals to the students for over two decades today. By sending heart patients to India for free of cost treatment, the Indian medical trip has saved Tanzania from spending whooping sums of money to treat its heart patients overseas in the West.

Notwithstanding the financial assistance from charity organisations like the Lions Club or Dar es Salaam and the Sri Sathya Sai Society (SST), the staggering medical cost the country has otherwise suffered by sending heart patients to other countries like South Africa or to Europe has raised concern, prompting the government's determination to build a heart hospital in the country.

It is an impressive plan and endeavour to comfort ailing hearts in the country. This is the man who built several hospitals including the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram in India through charity for charity to the needy not only in India alone, but worldwide.

The Indian guru, philanthropist and educator, died on April 24 last year. In the meantime, however, the plight of victims of cardiac complications remain bold and continue to be so in an environment of dire poverty. The SSST, a big stakeholder in the endeavour to give relief to those with heart problems even as it provides food and other basic needs to the poor, remains at the fore front to supplement the government's effort to improve life for the poor in the rural and the environs of urban centres.

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the founder of the benevolent organization of Sathya Sai Society says: "Patients should be treated not with a feeling of doing a favour. Giving them medical care should be seen as an opportunity to serve." So far it has provided free heart treatment to hundreds of unfortunate Tanzanians and plans to send many more to India have drawn attention of the many observers and stakeholders with burning interest.

The Sri Sathy Sai Heart Hospital, Rajport, as the medical institution is called has treated hundreds on Tanzanians with a cardiac problem, most of them from poor homes. On the surface Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital, Rajpot may appear the same to any other hospital elsewhere in the world. But it is unique. That distinctive quality lies in nothing other than its provision of the best medical care for cardiac patients with utmost dedication and commitment including diagnostic medical, preoperative, surgical and postoperative services at no cost to the patient.

The management of Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital, Rajkot acknowledges the weight of the problem of treating heart patients by saying: "Modern medicines sure are making dreams come true. But there is a great risk that the benefits of these technological advances are far beyond the reach of the underprivileged sections of the society."

Then they ask: "Do we have the model institution that can show us the path we might take?" So the 'Daily News' went ahead and explored the hospital for a couple of some basic facts. The hospital was incepted in 2000 and conducted regular diagnostic cardiac camps in different districts of Gujarat. The hospital has 60 beds including 12 intensive care beds and 4 standby ICU beds.

One report says of the Department of Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery: "Over the past 20 years, have routinely performed an entire gamut of cardiac surgeries, expect heart transplant." The report adds that in the last 10 years, the hospital has done 4,500 surgeries, and "more than one lac patients have benefited from this hospital". Many hospitals are built with the basic aim of being a commercial institution.

Not Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital, Rajkot. "...it is a reflection of the teachings of Bhagawan, who repeatedly reminds us that 'Service to man is service to God." The chairman of SSST, Sajnani Nathumal, says his organization will continue to send more children with heart problems to the Rajkot Hospital. But the SSST needs assistance from other organizations. "Sending sick children to India is a continuous process and with the assistance of other organizations and individuals, we shall continue to provide service to the needy in the country," says Brother Natu as he is known for short.

The SSST, the Lions Club of Dar Salaam and the Regency Medical Centre, recently sent over 20 children with heart problems to Rajkot Hospital, India. Head of Regency Medical Centre Rajni Kanabar calls on people with heart problems to report early to hospital. "But they always come when the problem is too complicated for cure," Dr Kanabar says.

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