On September 18 Gandhi Foundation sponsored the Sai Health Fair, as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 135th birthday anniversary. This was held at the spacious Impact Center at the Global Mall, the hub of the Indian Community in Atlanta.
A long line of people of diverse nationalities and cultures from all over Atlanta began registering for the tests from as early as 6:30 AM. Dr. Sujatha Reddy was quite surprised by the response and started making arrangements immediately for the various health-care services including consultations with physicians from many specialties, free EKGs and diabetic education. At the end of the momentous day, Gandhi Foundation of USA (GFUSA) notched up yet one more highly successful humanitarian project marking its mission of social service.

By Mahadev Desai

Photos : Krishna Murthy

Dr. Sujatha Reddy is the well-known Macon-Atlanta physician who in the past has organized five successful Health Fairs in Metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. This time once again spearheaded the Health Fair in memory of the 135th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. By this laudable example of outreaching, by providing free medical services and consultations to the members of the beloved Atlanta community, the Gandhi Foundation strove to further strengthen its bond within the community. For several weeks, the members of the Gandhi Foundation, USA distributed flyers, publicized the event to Indian-American Associations, and other communities through various print, TV, and Internet media. Inspired by compassion and commitment, many Physicians, Health care professionals, volunteers, Community and Faith-based organizations devoted their time, expertise and energies to make the SAI Health Fair worthy of emulation.
The health fair was very neatly organized; the entrance of the Impact
Center was festooned with the banner of the Gandhi Foundation and portraits of King and Mahatma Gandhi. The hallway and well-lighted hall had tables manned by over 36 doctors representing 17 specialties and 17 nurses who attended to the various health care needs of the people as they walked in. Over 200 availed themselves of the blood work, which was offered with an exhaustive blood report at a very nominal fee of $15(CBC, Chemistry 14 profile, lipid profile, thyroid profile, sickle cell prep, PSA) About 350+ participants attended the fair.. It is noteworthy that the results of the blood work were mailed within 48 hours! “Forewarned is forearmed!” The test results helped identify several life threatening situations, which were immediately notified to the participants concerned.

The participants were all very happy to avail the benefits of the various tests done, especially those who did not carry any medical insurance and some others who brought their visiting parents and in-laws. Most of them who attended expressed their appreciation and gratitude at the courteous, efficient and reassuring service and requested more such health fairs. “You are doing a pioneering work in preventive health care in USA”, some said.

Pfizer/Udipi restaurant served continental breakfast for the participants, whereas Cephalon/ Udipi restaurant provided sumptuous lunch. The Drury Inn provided accommodation for nurses from Macon, GA at a discounted rate. GFUSA members Kumkum Kashiparekh, Antony Thaliath, Dr. Lizy Thaliath, Jacob Ampat, and Dr. K.Thrivikraman performed commendable voluntary services.

Ravi Ponangi (India Tribune), “Khabar" magazine and “Namaste Bombay” and “Atlanta Dunia”, helped greatly with the publicity. Krishna Murthy rendered excellent photographic services.

Dhruti Contractor, and GFUSA’s Youth Group Coordinator, Vinita Thaper and her sister Sonya Thaper did commendable volunteering work.
Certificates of Appreciation, designed by Asst. executive director of GFUSA, H. Shivadas, and signed by its Acting Chairman, Subash Razdan and Executive Director, Giriraj Rao and Coordinator, Sujatha Reddy  were presented to all the participating physicians, nurses and volunteers.

The Chief Coordinator of the SAI Health Fair, Dr. Sujatha Reddy said she was very happy with the large turnout particularly thankful to the location, which attracted many Asian communities. She thanked the GFUSA for giving her an opportunity to hold the SAI Health Fair, and thanked Sanjay Patel and Ampath for providing the Impact Center. She went on to thank Forest Lab and Eli Lilly for providing the TV/VCR and educational tapes on stress management and nutrition for viewing to the participants in the waiting area.

She also thanked Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, Cardiologist from cardiovascular group Lawrenceville for arranging 3 technicians to do 200+ EKGs; Indra Menon, ophthalmologist in Decatur for arranging technician to screen for glaucoma; the team of physicians, nurses, clerical staff, sponsors and numerous volunteers who together helped make the Health Fair a big success. She says that she feels an inner joy in helping those who cannot afford the medical services provided by the private sector and is hoping to organize more such health fairs in the future, to increase the awareness of the public on preventive health care. She also continued that the doctors, nurses, Health Care providers left the Fair with the complete satisfaction of having served the community in which they reside and with the satisfaction of having given something back to it with their skills and knowledge.

Subash Razdan of “Namaste Bombay” said he was heartened with the turnout and the spirit of volunteerism displayed at the Health Fair. He said that the successful Health Fair was a clear proof that more such Fairs is essential to outreach countless needy and often neglected uninsured sector of the community.

Mr. Giriraj Rao echoed these sentiments “Yes, Sai Health Fair was a great demonstration of the effects of sound planning, great execution and super cooperation under Dr. Sujatha Reddy and Antony Thaliath and all the persons who participated, Doctors, Nurses, Medical Professionals the Volunteers and including the patrons”.

“I think, if the cause is right, if the need is there and if the spirit is there, there is hardly anything we cannot accomplish. The volunteers proved this point by being there in large numbers and giving their best help with a smile on their faces.”