Annual Medical Camp at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh
Run by the Dera Hospital, a program to provide free medical check-ups for sevadars started in the early 1990s. It was formally organized on a larger scale in 2003 and was named the Annual Medical Check-up (AMC). The objectives of the AMC (and follow-up treatment) are to prevent diseases, to identify risk factors for common diseases, and to detect underlying diseases that have not yet manifested symptoms. It helps to establish a baseline of the patients’ health that the doctor can use to detect unhealthy trends before they become risk factors. Many chronic diseases are caused by poor lifestyle habits. To address these issues, an awareness program and counseling sessions are conducted after the AMC to encourage sevadars to take care of themselves through good diet, proper exercise and a wholesome lifestyle. Maintaining one’s health is a continuous process and involves personal efforts to ensure that healthy practices are put into action.
The comprehensive Annual Medical Check-up is conducted at the Dera Hospital for all Dera sevadars, residents and their spouses and for children. This is done by a team of approximately 225 doctors and paramedical staff who comes from all over India. Nearly 4,000 persons undergo a check-up during a week-long period in the month of October/November every year.
The doctors include specialists and super-specialists from all major medical disciplines. The hospital maintains the computerized health records of all patients who receive check-ups.
In addition to a comprehensive clinical examination, all basic laboratory tests are done. Body mass index is measured to check for overweight and obesity in its early stages so that patients can receive appropriate dietary counseling. Whenever clinically indicated, patients receive tests such as those measuring bone mass density, electrocardiography, ultrasound of various organs, echocardiography, tread-mill tests, tonometry, fundus photography, PAP smears, uroflowmetry and audiometry are also done when clinically indicated. Patients also receive an annual dental exam and necessary treatment is prescribed as follow-up.
Children undergo a comprehensive medical check by a team of specialists and are given nutritional prophylaxis (iron, folic acid, zinc and vitamins A and D3) and deworming tablets.
Follow-up to the Medical Camp is done at the Dera Hospital for incipient and suspected diseases as well as for previously identified problems. Patients who are identified as suffering from diseases that require referral to higher level facilities are given the help they need.
The benefit of this proactive approach to healthcare is obvious, but two anecdotes serve to illustrate the advantages. One middle-aged patient showed no symptoms of heart disease and enjoyed an active life, but stress tests performed on his heart ultimately revealed the need for multiple bypass surgery. This underlying condition would otherwise have surfaced only by way of a damaging heart attack. In another patient, a PAP smear picked up a precancerous lesion of the cervix. Timely management resulted in a complete cure. Of course, many problems are simply prevented by early interventions, dietary changes, and addressing other risk factors.
Annual Dera Eye Camp
In India many people are blind due to cataracts, which in most cases can be cured by a simple operation. In 1965 Maharaj Charan Singh started the first Dera Eye Camp to help people suffering from cataracts who did not have access to medical treatment regardless of their caste, religion, colour, or social distinctions. In the twenty-four years that the Eye Camps were held, from 1965 to 1989, nearly 59,000 people underwent successful operations. The Radha Soami Trust Beas covered the entire cost of the camps. The last Dera Eye Camp, held in November 1989, was documented with both a photographic book and a 44-minute film.
Love in Action: The Dera Eye Camp
A black-and-white photographic book, Love in Action documents every aspect of the 22nd Eye Camp held at Dera Beas in 1989. More than 6,000 patients from all walks of life were treated for cataract and other eye diseases during the camp. All medical treatment, board, lodging, and after-care were provided to every patient, free of charge. The book covers the concern and compassion of the Master for the patients and the love and devotion and high standard of organization and discipline of the doctors and more than 7,000 sevadars. It is truly a story of dedication, selfless service, and self-sacrifice.
The Dera Eye Camp Video (44 min.)
This film documentary, simply called the 22nd Dera Eye Camp, November 1989 is similar to the book in that it tells the inspiring story of the love and compassion that motivated 7,000 sevadars to donate their time and energy to serve the nearly 6,000 eye patients each year. The film documents the entire process of the Eye Camp, from the initial screening, to the operations, to after care.
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