Even in this fast paced world where everybody is busy minding their own business, there are doctors who take an active role in improving community healthcare, thereby increasing the public's confidence in the medical profession. These 'doctors with a heart' go beyond the call of duty and reach out to the lesser privileged who have a tough time affording the health services they desperately need.
Ekam Foundation and Udhavum Ullangal Public Charitable Trust honored eight doctors and two Institutes on Sunday in Chennai, South India, for their noble dedication to the society and conferred the prestigious Dr. KS Sanjivi Award in recognition of their relentless efforts to serve the under privileged. Tamilnadu Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Mr. VK Subburaj who presented the awards lauded the service of these doctors—service that stands out in a country where there is a growing gap between the availability of physicians and the growing disease burden.
Following are the details of the recipients of Dr. KS Sanjivi Awards 2010 -
Dr. P. Amudha Rajeswari, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Madurai Medical College and Assistant Surgeon in government Rajaji Hospital, works closely with more than 300 mentally disabled children and their families free of cost at the Anbagam and does regular medical check up for 200 special children at Bethason Special School in Madurai. She gives regular lectures to teachers and parents at the school for the mentally disabled.
Dr. Shiva Prasad Sahoo, an Ophthalmologist and founder director of Trilochan Netralaya (TN), has dedicated his services to eliminate avoidable blindness in the poverty stricken areas of Western Orissa (Odisha). He has conducted 100 Cataract surgeries in one sitting and 130 outreach camps in the year 2009 alone. TN regularly organizes screening camps in villages for cataract and refractive errors. TN operated on 12,513 patients from 14 districts mostly tribals, free of cost. The post operative infection is almost zero and one month visual acuity is mostly good vision.
Dr. Sarala Rajajee, a Pediatric Hematologist and Immunologist from Mehta hospital Chennai, being O Rh negative, donates blood for exchange transfusion in newborns. Her honorary services during PG studies and ICMR research programs at ICH, HC, Chennai include taking exemplary care of very sick children, comforting their family, providing food for destitute parents in the wards by making available the tokens from the guild of service canteen, starting a Trust fund to pay for hospitalizations and for poor parents to buy drugs.
Dr. L. Muthusamy, a general practitioner, considered an NGO-friendly doctor, has conducted more than 1000 free camps, mostly every Sunday of the month. He pays the medical expenses of daily wage laborers and sees to that they are not absent from work for long due to illness. In his acceptance speech the good doctor said all he owned today was an old scooter and a house purchased on loan, but he had earned the hearts of many people. He thanked his wife and children for co-operating with him in serving the less privileged.
Dr. K. Vanaja, a Joint Director in Public Health and Preventive Medicine has initiated public-private partnership activities in her area of work and has ensured that all the government special schemes like the Varumun Kaappu Thittam (Preventive schemes) and the Kalaignar Kaapittu Thittam (Insurance Scheme) reached the needy.
Dr. R. Krishnamoorthy, Hand and Micro Surgeon, Professor and Head, Senior Civil Surgeon, Stanley Medical Hospital does surgical treatment for hand injuries in addition to Plastic Surgery since 1974. Along with his team at Stanley Hospital he has rebuilt the lives of several patients who have lost their limbs in work-related accidents.
Dr. Subramanya Bharathiyar, Professor and HOD, Anesthesia, Chief Anesthetist, Stanley Hospital conducts free surgical camps and medical camps at various places in Chennai. He provides free medical services during natural calamities such as the Tsunami camp at Mylapore, flood relief camp at Cuddalore and Chidambaram, earthquake camp at Bhuj, Gujarat etc.
Dr. JS Sathyanarayana Murthy, Professor of Cardiology and Head of Cardiac catheterization in Sri Ramachandra University, formed a Trust in Sri Ramachandra Hospital and helped more than 35 children get free surgery, distributed medicines and accessories to Tsunami affected people in Andamans and also gave them free medical treatment.
Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Pushpa for her dedication and compassion especially in the field of Pediatrics. She set up a lab for bleeding disorders in a government hospital during her student days and has worked as both general pediatrician and hematologist for14 years in the Institute of Child Health and then started the dept of hematology. Apart from selflessly supporting cancer stricken children medically, she has been involved in research trying to explore the cause of their fatal illness.
Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission, a spiritual order of monks established by Swami Vivekananda to serve humanity and Isha Outreach, Coimbatore, both known for their free medical services to the underprivileged were the two Institutes honored with the Dr. KS Sanjivi Award 2010. "Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity."- Buddha
As the Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare Mr. VK Subburaj IAS observed while felicitating the doctors and distributing the Awards on the Doctors Day celebrations in Chennai, these doctors have raised the dignity of the medical profession and hopefully, their deeds should inspire the younger generation to reach out to the community in kindness and service. The healthcare needs of a billion people in India will have a better chance of being met when more people unite to service the society generously.