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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

a man.. his mission


my cousin visited us today. he is a doctor in mumbai and a reputed one. has been the president of the IMA too.

he is in his 50's now.

he has always had this habit of sharing interesting incidents with us whenever we meet. he can hold court for hours and i for one , never get bored or tired. even when he had just joined medical college way back.. he would relatete experiences. he was the first doctor in my family and his stories always fascinated.

Today he told us about a doctor he met in a small village in nandurbar. this was about 5 - 6 yrs ago. the doctor was about 82 yrs of age then. His name - Dr Ravindranath Tongaonkar.

After he finished his studies in the field of medicine, he decided to practise in a remote village. inhabited mostly by the adivasis, said my cousin.

He was doing so much good work there that the missionaries next door gave him land so that a health centre could come up. the small hospital conducts surgeries, deliveries and extends medical support to the people there. The hospital bed charges were about Rs 2.50 - for a shared room (about 4 beds in a room) and about Rs 5 for a twin share...

food for the patients is often the food cooked by is wife for her family. his son and daughter-in-law now work alongside him.. equally committed to service.

now for the best part. my cousin told us, "hernia operaitons require a mest to be place in yr body. a small square bit of mesh would cost about Rs 2,500/-

Dr Tongaonkar, improvised and used a piece of our regular plastic mesh.. the netlon kind. the one we used on our windows to ward of mosquitoes. He sterilised the plastic mesh and has been using it with great success. "

isn't that amazing !

surgeries and operations require uninterrupted power when they are being conducted. there could be no assurance of such luxury in that remote village. The doctor started using a tractor and its engine for a generator.

But supply of diesel isnt regular either. so the dr started using coconut shells, paper and other stff which could be burnt and the steam would be used to generate power for his Operation Theatres.

what commitment!!

lack of resources, lack of regular infrastructure , lack of equipment... are common excuses we hear. but he didnt let anything come in the way.. he keeps marhcing on.

he found a way to surmount each difficulty. he accepted the realities and worked around them, finding the best solutions possible.

he could have given up, beaten... but he was committed to the cause.

i had never heard of this great personality and the terrific work he has been doing.
and i can't keep myself from sharing this.

he has written a book in marathi. google dev helped - and i found the name of the book , now translated in english - Making of a rural surgeon .

i for one will be on the look out for this book . this one, or the original marathi version... whichever i can lay my hands on firs

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