MEDICAL camps organised by a charitable organisation have treated over 2000 people in the Western Division.
The camps, an initiative of the Sathya Sai Service Organisation of Fiji, saw 2082 people receive free treatment through general medical consultations for children, adults and the elderly, obstetrics and gynaecology, women's health and cervical cancer screening, psychological screening and counselling, dental services, diabetes screening, eye clinics and free medication.
Held over a five-day period from last Monday, the Sai Medical Unit from Australia treated people living in Rakiraki right through to Sigatoka.
Apart from assisting rural people, the visiting medical team also played a significant role in giving students from the University of Fiji's Umanand Sharma School of Medicine first-hand practical exposure to medical ailments and dental procedures by inviting them to be part of the camps.
"Being part of the Sai MediCare camps has allowed me to realise the true beauty and nature of the medical profession," said Leone Vuki, a third year medical student at the UPSM, who has been a part of the camps for the past three years.
"Being a medical doctor requires more than just medical care, you have to be physically and emotionally connected to the needy patients.
"It has helped me realise that being a doctor isn't only a profession, but a calling of 'the Almighty Lord' to provide selfless service and comfort to those in pain and misery.
"I, like all the other medical students, eagerly look forward to the annual Sai MediCare Camps which is not only a week of learning but serving the community at large.
"As this year's camp concludes, we are extremely grateful to the Sathya Sai Service Organisation for allowing us this unique opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals and being a part of this great service project," said Mr Vuki.
Associate Prof Nadanachandran, a neurosurgeon and co-ordinator for the Sai Medical Unit of Australia said the service project had been a continuous success over the past six years because of the support given by Sathya Sai Organisation of Fiji, students of UPSM, University of Fiji and the Health Ministry.
He also lauded the efforts of volunteers from United Kingdom, Australia and Fiji that participated this year.
Roshika Kumar, a mid-wife and nurse in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology in Sydney and a former Fiji resident was part of the volunteer team that took part in the camp last week.
"It truly was an amazing experience to oversee the hardships and disadvantages facing women of all ages in the community," she said.
"It was a great opportunity to be part of the team and to work among some of the best physicians, UPSM medical students and Sai volunteers and give back to Fiji.
"It has been a week of serving, teaching and learning all at once, and such opportunities are rarely available in Australia.
" I have taken the experience onboard and I am motivated to continue being a part of future Sai MediCare camps or other similar initiatives undertaken in Fiji," said Ms Kumar.
As part of its efforts to assist the poor and needy, Sai MediCare camps are organised for the first and second term school holidays annually.