Amma’s devotees from Singapore led the project which also resulted in installation of new equipment at the main facility.
KOCHI / February 27, 2023: The Amrita Health Center in South Andaman has opened a satellite clinic in Bambooflat, a small settlement of 8,000 people 8.5 km away across a strait that is accessible only with a ferry ride. The new facility, the only one of its kind in the isolated region, will make quality healthcare accessible and affordable to patients who currently need to travel a long way to seek modern treatment.
The Amrita Health Center at South Andaman’s Shadipur has also been upgraded with a new CT scanner, ambulance, and physiotherapy and lab equipment. The facility is connected via a telemedicine satellite link with the super-specialty Amrita Hospital in Kochi, Kerala. It provides daily out-patient consultations to about 25 people, alongside home care services for people who are bed-ridden. The center also runs an ECG and X-Ray machine.
Volunteers with the Amriteswari Society, Singapore, led the project for the new equipment and further outreach. Their efforts began during the COVID-19 pandemic when the health center’s CT scanner broke down. As fundraising expanded, they were also able to provide a new ambulance and laboratory equipment, as well as establish a physiotherapy clinic.
“Healthcare access is very limited in this region, 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 health center was started by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) after her first visit to Andaman in 2008 after witnessing suffering among the people in the area. Her immediate priority was to establish dependable medical services for them.
“Although we started the health center here in 2009, still so many people need more help, and the devotees from Singapore were eager to do the needful because of their dedication to Amma,” said Swami Purnamritananda Puri, General Secretary of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. He visited Andaman to lead the inauguration ceremonies of the new facilities.
The satellite clinic in Bambooflat is a profound endeavor as it will extend the Amrita Health Center’s reach by providing consultations, telemedicine, and digital lab services to the remote area. Even the time and cost of the ferry ride is something many patients 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 of the facility at Bambooflat. She said: “May I express my 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.”
Sagar Dharan, associated with Amriteswari Society, Singapore, said that it was an almost unimaginable blessing from Amma to be able to contribute to improving the lives of 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 explained. “A fundraising drive was initiated, and we were able to raise enough money to expand services in this poverty-stricken area.”
Swami Purnamritananda Puri added: “It is not easy to find dedicated teams who are ready to come and stay in this remote area, but with Amrita Hospital, Kochi, as a university campus, more and more doctors from India will be ready to devote their lives for the poor people living here. So, I hope we can do much more.”