This Indian Doctor Has Treated Over 2 Million People for Free
Dr. Ramana Rao is well-known in India. The consulting physician and cardiologist is the man responsible for the health of many known actors, politicians, and even state ministers.
What really sets him apart, however, is his selfless effort of bettering the lives of India’s poor.
For the past 44 years, Dr. Rao and his family have been operating a free health clinic in T.Begur, a village of around 650,000 people in rural Bangalore, some 950 kilometers south-east of Mumbai. – Visit The Village Clinic for more details.
The world’s longest-serving free clinic and has been treating patients in Bangalore, India since 1974.
What began with only a handful of patients, has now grown into a project of massive scale, with between 700-2000 patients coming to see Dr. Rao and his team of 35 every Sunday.
The medical staff includes his wife and two sons (who are also doctors), ten dentists, six nurses, and one skin specialist. Some of the staff volunteering at the clinic are even former patients of Dr. Rao.
Patients come to the clinic from far away, and on most weekends the queue begins to form on Saturday night. “Every Sunday, the number of patients varies from 700 to 1200, and we did not even miss a single Sunday”, Dr. Rao told The Logical Indian.
And Dr. Rao’s philanthropic work doesn’t end here. Over the years, he has also built a shed for his patients where they receive a free lunch while they wait.
Apart from the free Village Clinic, he also installed 7,000 toilets in the surrounding villages, adopted 50 schools in the city and gives books, uniforms and other study materials.
Furthermore, his team has dug four borewells, which supply water to 60 villages in the area and also offers clothes and rice for the poor during festivals.
“The reason I became a doctor was to serve my community,” Dr. Rao says. “The Sunday Village Clinic is dedicated to help the section of society who have no means or access to quality health care.”
To run a clinic like this so consistently, in such huge numbers, requires much funding. He needs a lot of help to continue to run the clinic as he does.
The clinic is funded primarily by donations through India’s largest crowdfunding website – Milaap. The funds raised are used to buy medicines, nebulizers, and injections for the clinic.
Since 1974 the doctor and his team have treated over two million patients completely free of charge. The medical staff includes his wife and two sons (who are also doctors), ten dentists, six nurses, one skin specialist, and volunteers.
Baba Jan, an auto-rickshaw driver from Gauribidanur, (some 60 km away) who volunteers every week said, “I came here for the first time eight years ago with my mother. I started volunteering seven years ago because I was impressed and I wanted to help.”
On a normal day, the consulting physician and cardiologist is the man responsible for the health of many known actors, politicians, and even state ministers. On a Sunday he is the philanthropist responsible for the heath of those stricken by poverty.
“It is poverty making our lines grow longer and longer. They can’t go to the hospital, they can’t even see a doctor that is how poor they are. They have no food, leave alone medicines,” he explains.
People travel from far and wide to see him. The radius has spread to virtually 110 kilometers. The pilgrimage begins the day before. On Saturday night the queue has already begun. By 3:30-4:00 am there are already around 300-400 people lined up waiting.
Not only does he give these people free medical attention, but he has also built a shed for his patients where they receive a free lunch while they wait for their consultation and treatment.
Apart from the free Village Clinic, his operation has also helped the community in other ways: He has adopted 50 schools in the city to which he continues to give books, uniforms and other study materials too. And, during festivals, he offers clothes and rice for the poor.
Dr Ramana Rao was honoured with Padma Shri for medicine in 2010 and bagged Dr Abdul Kalam National Award for rural medical service in 2008. “I believe only a doctor can serve the humanity by curing them and reducing the suffering,” Dr Ramana Rao told The Logical Indian.
Be the reason he can continue to serve the ever-growing number of rural patients who line up in the queues with the hope to get cured.
Support this cause through donation to his Raj Prakash Trust. Visit the website for further information.
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