Udayavni Special

National Doctor’s day 2021: Meet the Medicos whose treatment costs less than a cup of tea


Sowbhagyalakshmi, Jul 1, 2021, 9:35 AM IST

Representational Photo: Shutterstock

In India, a country with a large population doctors are often compared to God and an obvious justification of the same shall rest on their endless toil and commitment to save lives.

Doctors have a noble profession and his/her duty is to treat and cure sick people. In this profession, one must have the intention of serving humanity. This is one of the most respectable professions in the society, cause unlike many other professions, a doctor treats people belonging to different religions, castes, and creeds.

A Doctor is the only person next to your guardians who wishes you a speedy recovery when you are sick. And when you are not sick a doctor is busy researching and administering medicines to protect you against diseases.

We owe our doctors a lot more beyond few bucks of consulting fees. As a mark of respect towards medical professionals, India celebrates National Doctor’s Day every year on July 1.

The Doctors’ Day is observed in the honour of noted doctor and former West Bengal chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy, whose story is a mix of hard work, talent, success despite racial discrimination, love for his homeland and an unmatched dedication towards his profession. The day serves as a wonderful opportunity to remember the roles, responsibilities, and importance of medical professionals in human society and is also a reminder to the medical community to do service like Dr. Bidhan Chand Roy.

Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy (MRCP, FRCS) was the University of Calcutta Alumnus and the great architect of West Bengal. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy bestowed with Bharat Ratna in 1961.

On the occasion of Doctors day, Team Udayavani would like our readers to meet a bunch of doctors from Karnataka whose treatment costs less than a cup of tea.

Dr Venugopala Sharma

In a country where people fear medical bills more than the illness, this ayurvedic doctor in Guruvayankere in Belthangady taluk, who provides free consultation to most of the patients, sees about 100 patients a day and has been referring people with Covid-like symptoms to the district hospital for tests and treatment.

Dr Venugopala Sharma, who has been practicing for more than 30 years is fondly called ‘Rs 10 doctor’ as this is the fee some of them pay for the consultation.

He began practicing in Belthangady in 1989 after completing his Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery degree from Udupi Ayurveda College. The doctor never fixed a consultation fee, but some patients used to pay Rs 2 initially and were then known then as the ‘Rs 2 doctor’. From there, patients began calling him ‘Rs 5 doctor’ and now they call him ‘Rs 10 doctor’.

Dr K Shankare Gowda

A dermatologist Dr K Shankare Gowda who has earned ‘five rupee doctor’ nickname because he charges his patients a mere Rs 5.

Having done his  MBBS from the famous Kasturba Medical College in the early eighties, Dr Gowda opened his clinic in Mandya and soon became the darling of the people through his selfless service and accessibility.

The Rs 5 that he charged his patients then still remains his fee whether the patient is a millionaire or a poor farmer.

He has been practicing in this sugarcane-dominated district of Karnataka for the past 35 years and also runs a free clinic in Shivalli, his native village,  between 8 am and 11 pm as he believes not everyone can afford to pay the bus fare to go to Mandya for treatment.

As for the Mandya clinic, it opens at around 3 pm and goes on till 10 or 11 pm depending upon the flow of patients. On Sundays, however, he spends the whole day in the fields in his village and doesn’t see patients.

Due to his popularity, people from far-flung areas come to him for treatment.

Dr Annappa N Bali

For the past 50 years, an ENT specialist Dr Annappa N Bali’s clinic is always crowded with patients, most of them hailing from the financially weaker sections.

Assisted by a three-member team, he examines 80-100 patients from his town and neighboring villages on a daily basis and among them, almost 50 percent are treated free of cost. The remaining patients pay a fee of just Rs 10 per patient (he never charges more than Rs10), which includes tablets, injections, and other treatments too.

Fondly known as ‘hatta rupayi doctor’ (Rs 10 doctor), in Karnataka’s Belagavi district, Dr Bali’s patience, sincerity, and quality care bring people in droves to his clinic.

Always dreaming of serving people through the medical profession, he insisted on a good education. With help from some relatives, he was able to complete his MBBS from the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Hubli. Then got a diploma in ENT in Mysuru in 1978.

He worked as a government doctor in rural areas of Karnataka and Chief Medical Officer of Belagavi district before starting his own private practice in 1998.

A doctor’s profession is a sacred one. Besides God, if someone is looked at with the same ‘hope’, that’s a doctor. On the occasion of Doctor’s Day 2021, it’s an opportunity to express gratitude and say thank you to the medicos, those who put the golden years of their life into the study of medical sciences and services for well being of the human race.

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