The new facilities include a CT scanner, ambulance, physiotherapy and lab equipment, and the establishment of a satellite clinic in an isolated area.
The Amrita Health Centre in Shadipur, South Andaman is able to care for more patients who are otherwise not able to afford medical treatment. The expanded services include a satellite clinic in Bambooflat, a town that is only accessible via a ferry ride across a strait.
Volunteers with the Amriteswari Society, Singapore, led the project for new equipment and further outreach. Their efforts began during COVID-19 when the health centre’s CT scanner broke down. As fundraising expanded, they were also able to provide a new ambulance and laboratory equipment, as well as open a physiotherapy clinic.
“Although we started the health centre here in 2009, still so many people need more help, and the devotees from Singapore were ready to do that. Because of their dedication to Amma,” explained Swami Purnamritananda Puri. He visited Andaman to lead the inauguration ceremonies.
Sagar Dharan is with the Amriteswari Society, Singapore. He said it was an almost unimaginable blessing from Amma to be able to contribute to improving health access for the people living in the area.
“The devotees were indeed challenged and motivated. By closely working with the Andaman team and a specialist at Amrita Hospital, Kochi, we were able to identify the equipment needed,” he shared. “A fundraising drive was initiated, and we were able to raise enough money to expand services in this poverty-stricken area.”
Swamiji added: “It is not easy to find dedicated teams who are ready to come and stay here, but with Amrita Hospital, Kochi, as a university campus, more and more doctors from India will be ready to sacrifice their lives for the poor people living here. So, I hope we can do much more.”
The health centre was started by Amma after her first visit to Andaman in 2008 when she witnessed how much suffering there was among the people there. Her first priority was to establish dependable medical services for them. Today, Amrita Health Centre provides daily out-patient consultations to about 25 people, alongside home care services for people who are bed-ridden. The centre also runs an ECG and X-Ray machine.
“Health care access on the whole is very limited here, especially affordability,” said Dr. Divya Mol, Amrita Health Centre’s Chief Medical Officer. “However, we strive to give medical treatment at the lowest possible rates, and I believe the new additions will benefit a lot of people who are in great need.”
The new satellite clinic in Bambooflat is a profound endeavour, as it will extend the health centre’s reach by providing consultations, telemedicine, and digital lab services to the remote area. Dr. Sandeep Roy is coordinating the facilities.
Technically, the town is only 8.5 km from Amrita Health Centre, however even just the time and cost of the ferry ride is something many find difficult to afford. It is also where the MA Math built 150 houses for people who lost their homes after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Mariam Bibi is a Zilla Parishad Member in South Andaman who attended the inauguration in Bambooflat. She said: “May I express sincere gratitude to Amma, whom I met when she visited Andaman in 2008. I am just as touched now by Amma’s compassion and expression of love for the people here as I was then.”