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Doctors should serve the poor with a spirit of sacrifice. There is no greater service than this. – Sri Sathya Sai Baba, July 5, 2003

Serving God By Serving Man – Healing in Nigeria and Benin

Five SSSIO healthcare professionals and several volunteers recently provided free healthcare services to neglected and underserved communities in Africa. Two gastroenterologists, a pediatrician, two internal medicine specialists, and three volunteers traveled to Nigeria from Botswana, Kenya, New Zealand, the UAE, and the USA. Joined by local volunteers, they organized medical camps in Nigeria and Benin, serving over 2,500 patients in one week! It was a festival of joy and gratitude for both the givers and the recipients, the heart-to-heart connection of love between doctors and patients was evident.

Ajah is a town in Nigeria that encompasses Addo, Langbasa, Badore, Ajiwe, and VGC districts. SSSIO held a medical camp at the Sathya Sai Nursery and Primary School at Ajah during June 9–10, 2023, serving 1,026 patients.

Although messages were only sent by word of mouth through the school children and parents, patients arrived in droves, reflecting the urgency of their healthcare needs. A host of medical conditions were treated, including metabolic syndrome and complications (including diabetes mellitus), Bilharzia fungal skin infections, scabies and cellulitis, upper respiratory infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disorders, etc. Free medicine and reading glasses were dispensed to patients.

On June 11, the SSSIO medical team proceeded to Benin, traveling 250 kilometers. Benin is among the world’s poorest countries. Abomey is home to the Royal Palaces of Abomey, inhabited by the Kings of Dahomey from 1600 to 1900 and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. The King of Abomey met with the SSSIO volunteers and thanked them for rendering medical aid to the impoverished people of Abomey.

The team first visited the local Sai Centre, which was overflowing with local African devotees led by Mr. Jacques Fego, National Council President, SSSIO, Benin. Even though it was late at night, after 9 PM, the SSE children chanted the Vedas, recited prayers, initiated Havan (ritualistic religious offerings), and concluded with Arati to Swami.

Right from 5 AM, a large number of patients came for consultations at the medical camp at Abomey. The SSSIO medical team served 1,478 patients under the shade of trees between June 12–16. Despite the monsoon season, not a single drop of rain impeded the medical camp. Local devotees served food to the patients while chanting mantras and singing bhajans.

The Benin community cannot afford prescription drugs for chronic conditions; hence the SSSIO initiated efforts to support this community with free medications via clinics supported by the local Sai center.

The medical team also met with the Public Health Director and visited a local general hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to assess their healthcare needs and priorities and discuss future collaborations with the SSSIO.

At the end of the camp, Mr. Jacques Fego said, “I never thought this could be a reality in Africa, in my country. The need for medical services is very great in Africa. It was Swami who answered my prayer!”

Further information is available by clicking here.

Jai Sai Ram

Media Committee
Sri Sathya Sai International Organization