Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital at Rajkot - A Report from Tata Institute of Social Sciences

By the grace of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba , Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital at Rajkot has been functioning for the last 13 years. A large number of poor and needy citizens who needed Cardiac Care have been benefited . Most complicated Cardiac Surgeries are conducted in this hospital and all this is TOTALLY FREE OF COST. 

A report as received from Tata Institute of Social Sciences wherein they have given their observations about the functioning and systems of this Rajkot Heart Hospital. This was conducted on behalf of M/s Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Mumbai. Their report is very encouraging. 

The construction of the new heart hospital at the outskirts of Ahmedabad is going on in full swing.

A few photographs taken from the project site are attached herewith just for your perusal. This will be a mega heart hospital with 125 Beds coupled with the most modern equipment to deal with Cardiac Cases of any kind and that to TOTALLY FREE OF COST. 

Beam Concretising already over

Construction Site - 1

Construction Site - 2

Construction Site - 3

The team members behind Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital at Rajkot hope to realise their dream of creating a CARDIAC DISEASE FREE SOCIETY.

1. Project background

Heart disease is a broad term that includes all types of diseases affecting different components of the heart. Heart means ‘cardio.’ Therefore, all heart diseases belong to the category of cardiovascular diseases. Some of the more common ones are coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke and peripheral arterial disease.

Heart disease has emerged as the number one killer among Indians, a new survey has revealed. According to a recent study by the Registrar General of India (RGI) and the Indian Council ofMedical Research (ICMR), about 25 percent of deaths in the age group of 25- 69 years occur because of heart diseases. If all age groups are included, heart diseases account for about 19 percent of all deaths. It is the leading cause of death among males as well as females and in all regions of India.

According to the World Health Organization, heart related disorders will kill almost 20 million people by 2015, and they are exceptionally prevalent in the Indian sub-continent.

Under its CSR activities, HPCL has taken various initiatives for the welfare of the society; one of these initiatives was to sponsor the services of Sri Satya Sai Hospital, Rajkot. HPCL had sponsored 200 patients of the hospital who needs heart surgeries.

About the Project

HPCL and Sri Satya Sai Heart Hospital, Rajkot has signed MoU with aim to do heart surgeries of 200 poor patients. The objectives of the project are:

i. To operate 200 heart surgery.

ii. Prescreening medical camps in the remote and economically disadvantage areas of Gujarat.

About the Study

Semi-structured interview guides were used for qualitative and quantitative data and to assess the impact of the project. Out of 200 beneficiaries 10 have been interviewed. Other stakeholders considered for the study include staff of implementing organization, management of Sri Satya Sai Hospital, family members of the beneficiaries and HPCL team.

2. Impact of the Project

i. Accessibility to Cardiac Surgery for poor people

The Satya Sai Heart Hospital is a specialized hospital in providing health care services in heart related problems and diseases. It is providing services to heart patients from last twelve years. The hospital only provides its services to the patients who are economically challenged as the treatment of heart diseases especially cardiac surgeries are extremely expensive and patients from lower economic strata are unable to access to existing heart care medical services. The criteria for accessing the services at the Sri Satya Sai Hospital in Rajkot are that the family income of the patients must be less than fifteen thousand. The research team found that most of the beneficiaries  were worked as farmer cum agricultural labourer, unskilled labourer, vendors, small business, etc. and they were not able to afford the cost of cardiac surgery on their own.

ii. Addressing the issue of economic burden

Sri Satya Sai Heart Hospital is not only providing OPD services and doing heart surgeries for the patients, who are from poor family background, but it is also relieving them from a daunting economic burden caused by such a surgery. Since the hospital serves only those patients who belong to lower economic strata, the services are provided free of cost to each beneficiary irrespective of caste, creed and religion. This protects the poor beneficiaries from the vicious trap of indebtedness.

Besides the surgery, the hospital has facilities for various tests, like, ECG, Pathology, etc. but the hospital does not have facility for Angiography Test; so, if there is requirement for that test, the hospital has tied up with Sterling Hospital in Rajkot for the facility and the hospital does the test at the discount of 50%. In addition to that, for the surgery there is requirement of blood depending on the condition of patients and type of surgery, hence Sri Satya Sai Hospital collaborated with Red Cross Society for the requirement of blood and the beneficiaries get the blood just at half rate which also reduces their economic burden.

iii. Outreach to the beneficiaries

Though Sri Satya Sai Hospital is located in the heart of Rajkot city because for the required test for heart problems / diseases, heart surgeries and post surgeries care it is necessary that the hospital should be situated in the city area, yet the hospital has its reach to not only in Gujarat but also have beneficiaries from other states of India. Since the hospital only provides services to the patients from poor and marginalized families, hence its major focus is to cover the rural part of India as the people of rural India still do not have access to any specialized health care services specially related to heart care.

In order to reach the rural and poor people Sri Satya Sai Hospital organizes various heart checks up camps in different cities with a slogan “Dil without Bill” so that the rural population of that area can easily reach to the camps and screening of their hearts are done by the specialist doctors.

Assessment Study of 2012-13 CSR Projects of HPCL 

It is found that if there is a requirement of any kind of heart surgeries, the patients are given appointment for the heart surgery in the camp itself.

In addition to that, the hospital maintains details of each beneficiary, so if a camp is planned to be organized, the previous beneficiaries of that area are informed in advance so that they can visit the camp/s and their check up can be done to determine if there is any post-surgery problem or not.

Besides, at the time of discharge the beneficiaries are also advised that if they have any problem related to surgery or any other heart problem/s, they can visit the hospital any time without appointment so that their problems can be addressed.

iv. Addressing the need of the people

In the present time, heart problem/s is very much common not only in the city but also in the rural parts of the country. But the condition of the rural population is dismal because there are no facilities available for heart care in rural areas. So, the heart camp/s provides the people an opportunity to get access to the specialized heart care services.

Box No. 2

Prakashbhai H. Pipariya is an inhabitant of Latipa village of Jamnagar district. He has 4 acres of agricultural land. He was suffering from heart problem and had done check up in U.N. Mehta Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. The doctor told him that his valve would have to be replaced and he would need at least Rs. 2 lacs for the surgery. But he did not have enough money; therefore, he was planning to sell his land for the operation. Then, one of his acquaintances from the neighbouring village informed him about Sri Satya Sai Hospital, Rajkot and advised him to visit the hospital. He visited the hospital and the surgery was done free of cost for Rheumatic Valve Replacement in the month of April, 2013. Now he is fine and conveyed his gratitude to the hospital and HPCL for not only for giving him a second life by having done the operation but also that his land and his dignity were restored. Land is the only source of livelihood for his family; and if his land was sold for operation, his family might have been trouble for livelihood for rest of the life.

Besides, providing free cost of heart surgery to the poor patients it is also helping them to continue livelihoods without any financial burden on them. As most of the patient are poor and not in a condition to access the available heart care facilities in private hospitals, because it’s beyond their affordability. Sri Satya Sai Hospital’s intervention with partners such as HPCL, to provide high standards of medical facilities, has prevented many beneficiaries from suffering severe health issues or falling into the trap of vicious poverty cycle, as many would be bound to sell their lands or lose their livelihood options.

Box No. 4

Govind J. Gagiya, 45 year old, is head of the family of 8 members. He is a farmer and had 4 acres of land. Since the agriculture is rain fed and due to vagaries of monsoons last couple of seasons farm productivity is very low. He was suffering from heart problem since last one year and had taken treatment from Civil Hospital, Jamnagar but there was no improvement from that. The condition was so severe that he had issues walking around his house too. One relative from his neighboring village informed him about the Sri Satya Sai Hospital, Rajkot. He was diagnosed in the hospital Rheumatic Heart Disease – Severe Mitral Stenosis + Severe Organic Tricuspid Regurgitation and operated for Mitral Valve Replacement in April 2013 under the sponsorship of HPCL’s CSR project.

After the operation he was advised not to be engaged in physical labour work and hence he is now working as a driver in order to sustain his family needs. He was thankful of Sri Satya Sai Hospital for the operation and wishes that everyone would be able to avail such kind of services.

Box No. 3

Chnadresh Haribhai Mehta, 45 years old, is a resident of Rameshwarnagar in Jamnagar district of Gujarat. He is the only bread earner for his family. He works as a peon at a Chartered Accountant office in Jamnagar. In 2006-07 he had suffered from severe heart attack and was admitted in Jamnagar hospital for 15 days. In March 2013, he again had pain in his chest. Then, he was suggested by some relative to visit the Sri Satya Sai hospital in Rajkot. He visited the hospital for check up and diagnosed as Ischemic Heart Disease,

CAD -Double Vessel Disease. He was admitted to the hospital and operated for Coronary Artery By-pass Grafting. He and his family (wife and Son) were showing their gratitude to the services of Sri Satya Sai Hospital and were thankful for giving him a second life.

v. Increased awareness and sensitization of stakeholders

Apart from providing free of cost services of screening of heart in the camp/s and further heart surgeries to the identified patients, Sri Satya Sai Hospital also creates awareness among the common masses about the heart problems and diseases and its available treatment/s. Since in the rural part of the country there is dearth of awareness amongst the rural population related to heart disease/s, its consequences and available possible treatment for that particular disease/s.

Along with the heart screening, Sri Satya Sai Hospital also uses Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, like banners, leaflets, etc., to create awareness in the camps. The participants of the camps are sensitized about the heart related problems / diseases and what are the available treatments for the same.

vi. Friendly environment for the patients

The beneficiaries shared that the environment of the hospital was exceptional. The behavior of doctors, para-medical staffs and other staffs of the hospital were cordial and motivating.

Even the family members of the beneficiaries were very much happy and satisfied with the services of Sri Satya Sai Hospital. During the visit of the research team to their houses, the family members along with the beneficiaries were showing their gratitude and thankfulness to the services of the hospital. For them the hospital is serving the mankind in real sense.

Box No. 5

Family members shared that it was their family member/relative was admitted in the hospital and that’s why they were present in the hospital to look after them for their own satisfaction; otherwise there was no need for their presence as the hospital’s staff gave better care than relatives.

Beneficiaries shared that they never felt that they were in a hospital. It felt like they were in a temple and everywhere there were peace and calmness, which helped them to heal rapidly.

3. Impactful Strategies and Features of the Project

i. Free of cost services

Since Sri Satya Sai Hospital in Rajkot only provides its services to the patients, who belong to economically weaker section of the society and do not have enough income to afford the cost of heart care services, hence the hospital address their economic issue by providing its services free of cost to each beneficiaries. For availing every heart care facility available in the hospital, the patients do not need to pay any money to the hospital administration which is a boon for the poor patients who are unable to get treatment for their heart diseases / problems because of economic barrier.

ii. Quality heart care services to the patients

Though the hospital providing it services in charity mode and never asked for any fees from the patients but it does not ever compromise with the quality of its services. The hospital has Out Patients Department (OPD) for registration and check up of the patients. Facilities, like Echo Cardiogram Machine (ECG), X-Ray Machine, Pathological laboratory, fully equipped Intense Care Unit (ICU) and pre and post Surgery Wards, etc. are available free of cost to the patients. There are two well equipped operation theatres (OT) for the cardiac surgeries where experienced and good

Cardiac surgeons provide their services for the benefits for the poor patients. Sri Satya Sai Hospital does the following heart surgery inside their premises:







Box No. 1

Beneficiaries shared that they would have died off, if Sri Satya Sai Heart Hospital, Rajkot had not done surgeries for their heart problems. It’s their second life which they were living because of the Hospital as in other hospital they need to pay more than 2 lakhs for the same surgeries which was beyond their affordability.

iii. Free Accommodation and Food to the Patient and their attendants

Apart from free heart surgery, Sri Satya Sai Hospital provides three times food not only to the patients but also to the attendant as one family member/relative is allowed to stay in the hospital with patients. If there is more than one family member, the hospital has tied up with a nearby dharmashala named “Pathikashram” which provides patients’ family member accommodation at the rate of just Rs. 6 for a night. This shows that apart from providing economic help to the economically backward families and individuals, it also includes a humanity factor which helps providing the patients with a second life.

4. Gaps Identified / Scope for Improvement

During visit to Sri Satya Sai Heart Hospital, Rajkot and interaction with the beneficiaries, the team observed that the hospital had implemented the project in a proper manner. Despite of that, the team observed that there were following areas which need improvement:

i. Branding visibility of HPCL

The team observed that the branding visibility of HPCL as funding agency was missing during the implementation. Though Sri Satya Sai Hospital had sent letter to each beneficiaries stating that their operation was sponsored by HPCL, yet there was no logo of HPCL on that. Not even the discharge paper or diagnosis paper had any sign of branding visibility of HPCL so that the beneficiaries and their family members could easily know who was sponsoring the operation cost.

ii. Acknowledgement letter in English

Though Sri Satya Sai Hospital, Rajkot had sent acknowledgement letter to each of the beneficiaries stating that HPCL had been provided financial assistance to the hospital under its CSR initiative for their heart surgeries. But the letter was in English and since all the beneficiaries of the CSR project of HPCL are from poor background and most of them are not comfortable in understanding English; therefore unable to comprehend what is written in the letter. It has to be kept into consideration that in order to reach to the beneficiaries their local language should be used. If there is any document that they cannot read then the objective of the same is lost.

5. Recommendations

Based on detailed interaction with the various stakeholders of the project, i.e., staffs of implementing organization, beneficiaries, family members of the beneficiaries, etc., and analysis the findings of the project, the research team found that sponsoring the heart operations of the poor patients showed the humanistic approach of HPCL under its CSR activities. This intervention of Sri Satya Sai Hospital and HPCL has saved lives of hundreds of patients. Following measures are suggested towards increased visibility and awareness about HPCL’s role in the project:

Firstly, the branding visibility of the HPCL should be kept in the mind during the implementation of the project. During the camps and distribution of leaflets and other IEC materials, the branding visibility of HPCL as a donor agency should be ensured.

Second, acknowledgement letter should also be in vernacular language as it would be easy for the beneficiaries to comprehend it and the branding visibility of HPCL would also be ensured.

Third, there is need of more advocacy camps on the issue of heart diseases and its treatment so that awareness can be created among common masses and they can also be sensitized about the issues and concerns of heart diseases. The camps organized by the hospital to identify beneficiaries can be used as platform for creating more awareness on preventive measures as well.

6. Conclusion

During the visit of the houses of the beneficiaries and interaction with them and their family members and relatives, it was not difficult to observe the bliss along with the gratitude on their faces. They were not able to afford the cost of the heart surgeries, which had done free of cost for them under the financial assistance of HPCL. Thus, by sponsoring the heart surgeries of the patients,

HPCL with Sri Satya Sai Hospital, Rajkot had given a second life to the beneficiaries. If it had not been sponsored most of the patient would not have been able to afford the cost of the operation. Not only did it save the beneficiary but also impacted the life of entire family and their livelihoods in a positive way.

(sourced from Impact Assessment Study of 2012-13 CSR Projects of HPCL)

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