The Bhaktivedanta Medical Association (BMA), a global healthcare committee with more than 220 devotee doctors dedicated to providing comprehensive care to devotees on a virtual platform free of cost, successfully launched its first-ever health camp on November 25, 2023, at the ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta Manor. There were about 700 registrations, with 350 devotees attending the three-hour-long event.
Sundarananda Das (Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal), the Chairman of BMA, explaining the structure of BMA, said, “We have created a virtual hospital covering diverse modalities like Ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga, physiotherapy, emotional wellness, mental wellness, nursing, research, and more, all under one umbrella.”
He continued, “Within the intricate framework of the BMA, a hierarchy of governance unfolds—trustees and advisory boards comprised of venerable Sanyasis and senior devotees, a committee overseeing 22 specialized sub-committees, each a division of healthcare ranging from Neonatology to End-of-Life Care.”
BMA provides healthcare in primarily two ways – education and direct patient care (telemedicine). Education currently is provided by holistic articles on the website (www.bma.healthcare) and by videos, podcasts, and seminars in the future. Direct health care is provided by telemedicine in the form of virtual consultations provided by allopathic teams, ayurveda teams, emotional and mental wellness teams, and diet teams.
BMA is spread across the globe, and currently, in three nations (with a plan to involve many more countries), the team of primary healthcare doctors first addresses queries from an allopathic perspective, seamlessly escalating to secondary specialists within the BMA. The Ayurvedic subcommittee comprises 15 Ayurveda specialists who are adept at deciphering symptoms and offering counsel concerning Ayurveda. The spectrum expands to include emotional and mental well-being, with access to counseling, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists, exemplifying the holistic care bestowed upon devotee patients.
At the health camp, BMA offered various services like health screenings, cancer advice, diabetes consultations, emotional wellness sessions, Alzheimer’s insights, and dental checkups. Sundarananda said, “It is difficult to access valuable counseling advice from highly qualified doctors free of cost. We had two available psychiatrists who successfully counseled ten patients at the event that day.”
He continued, “We had a diabetologist giving consultations to a lot of patients with diabetes, like discussing their problems, their medication, insulin, and more. We had a section on blood pressure and heart rate screening where about 11 patients became aware of their high blood pressure, and two got to know about the irregularity in their heart rhythm.”
The health camp at the Manor served as one of the earliest means of BMA to make everyone aware of its services. Sundarananda said, “BMA was launched over a year ago, and this camp was reasonably successful in making people aware as we got very positive feedback. We are going to spread awareness in all possible ways so that devotees benefit from this virtually free service.”
In a Western world dominated by virtual health, BMA ensures globally renowned doctors from esteemed institutions offer evidence-based counsel, transcending geographical constraints. Regarding plans, it contemplates a foray into social media to propagate its virtually free services. Monthly interviews form a gateway for recruits, aligning with the overarching vision of uniting devotee doctors globally. Sundaranda said, “We are going to develop more of our educational course videos and seminars for education, deliver courses, and expand the telemedical services across many countries in the subsequent months.”
In the tapestry of wellness, awareness, and consultation, the Bhaktivedanta Medical Association (BMA) stands as a beacon, harmonizing spiritual principles with cutting-edge healthcare illuminating a path of holistic well-being.
Sundarananda Das concluded, “The idea is to have all the devotee doctors across the globe under one umbrella serving Srila Prabhupada’s mission.”
To use convenient telemedicine services offered by BMA to ISKCON devotees, use the following emails:
UK Telemedicine – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ayurveda – email@example.com
BMA South Africa team – firstname.lastname@example.org
BMA India team – email@example.com
For mental health resources, visit ISKCON’s Karuna Care here.
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