Health Aid Trust (HAT) was established in 1999 with the following objectives
- The advancement of health shall be carried out without the discrimination of cast, creed, religion or sex.
- To provide relief in accidents and natural calamities such as drought, flood, natural disasters.
- To provide medical activities and organize treatment camps for the needy.
Pujya Bapu, after seeing local people in villages suffer from pain and anguish when ever they got injured or fell ill or even for childbirth, they found it difficult to access medical facilities. There were two main issues – firstly, that it was expensive to get treated and most villagers cannot afford the treatment and secondly, there weren’t many easily accessible medical centres nearby, and if they had to travel, it would have to be by public transport and in many cases it is just not possible to travel when you are in acute pain and what is needed is an emergency ambulance service where the patient can be put at ease and then transported safely to the nearest medical centre.
As Pujya Bapu is compassionate and very sensitive to the needs of the local people, it was his wish if he could start an ambulance service from Chaparda. The idea was that if there was an ambulance stationed in Chaparda with its dedicated driver and helpers, they would put up a sign board with the contact number in a central location in each of the Visavadar villages. Then, whenever a call came for an emergency medical help, the ambulance would pick up the patient with one or two family members and take them to the nearest medical facility.
In June 1999, BEHT took this project up and held a charity swimathon to raise funds for a mobile ambulance unit. 92 swimmers of all ages from 5 years onwards took part and raised a very impressive amount of nearly £15,000.
A TATA chassis was purchased and an ambulance body was built on it to our specification. The ambulance unit was delivered in February 2000 and went straight into operation. Two drivers were employed and notice boards displaying information about the service were put up in about 30 villages within a 50mile radius. In the first year 165 cases were handled at an average of 15 cases per month. These included accident cases, severe illnesses, broken limbs, etc. Where necessary, patients were transferred to major hospitals in Rajkot and Ahmedabad. Many of the people who benefited were often the main or only bread winners of their families, and the ambulance service has helped them to get back to work much sooner than would have been possible otherwise. A voluntary payment scheme was introduced, whereby those who could afford to contribute towards the cost of fuel did so. Those who could not afford to pay at all were given the service free.
This commendable service continued until the Jay Ambe hospital opened in Chaparda. In that period, the ambulance service helped about 2500 people in their time of difficulty.
Through this ambulance service, Pujya Bapu learnt what kind of medical issues the villagers were suffering and experiencing when they managed to reach a medical centre. If it were a Government run centre, all the treatments would be free but the quality and timing of the treatment was questionable and if it were a privately run centre, then, again quality and cost of the treatment was questionable. Many times, it left the villagers in huge debt or in worst case, the treatment was fatal. Hearing these kinds of stories almost daily, Pujya Bapu’s wish was to start his own hospital where he could offer free treatment to the needy villagers and provide an honest and effective treatment. As Bapu has often said in his satsangs that if you sincerely dream of something and work towards it, these dreams do come to fruition.
That is exactly what happened. Bapu’s very generous disciple, Ratibhai Bhatt, on his death bed, gave his dying wish to Pujya Bapu – that a piece of land he owned in Mumbai should be sold off and the proceeds from it should be used towards building a hospital.
Jay Ambe hospital was completed in 2012 and it opened in April of that year.
Pujya Bapu’s wish of ‘Pidito ne raht aapo’ (ease the pain of the down-trodden) was fulfilled and the next challenge was to make this project fulfil the objective of serving the poor people free of charge and effectively.
To do this, Health Aid Trust works with the following mission statement:
JIV SEVA EEJ PRABHU SEVA”( Service to the living beings is service to god)