Home Animal At 70, Padma Shri Physician Travels 160 Km Each Weekend To Deal with Villagers

At 70, Padma Shri Physician Travels 160 Km Each Weekend To Deal with Villagers

At 70, Padma Shri Physician Travels 160 Km Each Weekend To Deal with Villagers


Padma Shri Dr Arunoday Mondal treats over 12,000 sufferers within the Sunderbans without cost yearly. He travels 160 km from Kolkata each weekend to run his Sujan clinic.

Because the weekend approaches, the town of Kolkata gears as much as unwind and loosen up. However ideas of leisure are the very last thing on Dr Arunoday Mondal’s thoughts. As Saturday approaches, he readies himself for an arduous journey to Sujan — a free medical service centre began within the 12 months 2000.

Situated in one of many remotest areas of Hingalganj in West Bengal, this clinic is the physician’s try at giving again to his group.

Each weekend, for the final 23 years, Dr Arunoday Mondal has been waking up within the wee hours of the morning and driving to the Dum Dum Cantonment Railway Station. From right here the 70-year-old boards a practice to Hasnabad. Two hours later, on arriving on the village, he takes an autorickshaw to Lebukhali. The journey spans 30 km, however the vacation spot continues to be not in sight.

The physician should take a mechanised boat throughout the river to succeed in Hingalganj, from the place Sujan is 12 km away. He completes this final stretch by bike.

Six hours and 160 km later, Dr Arunoday Mondal walks into Sujan the place he says “a whole lot” wait, their medical grievances on the prepared. Unhealthy street connectivity and abject poverty imply most of them have walked to Sujan. Their drained faces present it.

However because the physician and affected person see one another, hope is rekindled. The individuals’s ‘Sundarban ke Sujan’, as he’s popularly known as, is now right here.

Patients from all around the Sundarbans come to Sujan to avail free medical care
Sufferers from throughout the Sundarbans come to Sujan to avail free medical care, Image supply: Dr Mondal

Dr Mondal’s causes for organising the free clinic on this distant a part of the state have been private. “I grew up right here,” he says. “This place [Chandrakhali Panchayat area of Hingalganj] has been my dwelling. Rising up, I noticed how powerful it was for my group to succeed in a health care provider. My grandfather, a homoeopathic physician, would usually deal with sufferers without cost. I watched and was impressed.”

Dr Mondal aspired to do the identical. Following an MBBS from the Calcutta Nationwide Medical Faculty, he labored on the Dr B C Roy Memorial Hospital for Youngsters. However give up in 1980 to start out his personal apply.

Nonetheless, ideas of his native Hingalganj have been consistently on his thoughts. “My socially aware thoughts wished to do one thing for the underprivileged individuals of Sundarbans,” he explains.

And in 2000, Dr Mondal couldn’t ignore his interior voice any longer.

Sujan — a ray of hope for the individuals of Sundarbans

Sujan provides people with medicines, scans, pathological tests and physiotherapy
Sujan offers individuals with medicines, scans, pathological exams and physiotherapy, Image supply: Dr Mondal

For the primary two years, Dr Mondal would seek the advice of sufferers without cost at his paternal home in Hingalganj. His recognition quickly grew and the area fell quick. So, in 2000 he arrange Sujan on a chunk of land he bought. “I run the two-storey centre myself with none authorities assist.”

For the reason that day the centre was flagged off, its doorways have all the time been open to anybody and each one of many Sundarbans, supplied they fall beneath the poverty line. The diaspora of sufferers embody villagers, fishermen, native residents of Hasnabad and Adivasi households who stay close to Santiniketan.”

Although Dr Mondal consults solely on weekends, his crew of eight medical workers are all the time on the centre to assist anybody. They help sufferers with pathological exams, sonographies and CT scans. Along with this, there’s a physiotherapy centre on the clinic the place paralytic and disabled individuals come for normal remedy and train.

When the physician isn’t busy consulting, he units up eye checkup camps, diabetic detection and prevention camps, gynaecological checkup camps, most cancers detection and prevention camps, blood donation camps, and so forth. Sujan has develop into a beacon of hope for the individuals.

Numerous medical camps are held at Sujan frequently through the year
Quite a few medical camps are held at Sujan ceaselessly all year long, Image supply: Dr Mondal

And because the inflow of sufferers is growing, Dr Mondal shares his plans to bolster the power’s capability. “We’re planning on beginning a 16-bed unit quickly — 4 beds might be reserved for snake chunk sufferers, six beds for anticipating moms, one other 4 for medical emergencies and two beds for neonatal care.”

He provides that the snake chunk ward is of prime significance. Elaborating on the explanation, he says, “Hingalganj is in such a distant space. Authorities amenities will not be sufficient to fulfill the wants of the individuals. The Sundarbans are well-liked for his or her biodiversity, which incorporates snakes, so snake chunk instances are quite common.”

Regardless of the federal government arranging anti-venom amenities, the physician shares that these are inadequate.

“In my expertise, I’ve witnessed 30 individuals dying of snake bites yearly,” he notes. Considered one of the instances is etched in his reminiscence. “I had attended a wedding within the village. Two days after the marriage, the younger bride of 18 was sleeping outdoors the home when a snake bit her. There wasn’t any anti-venom out there and she or he died.”

Service rooted in love

Dr Arunoday Mondal receiving the Padma Shri in 2020
Dr Arunoday Mondal receiving the Padma Shri in 2020, Image supply: Dr Mondal

At the moment, as Dr Mondal is ready to put the grins again on so many faces by means of his service, he says life has come full circle. “I used to really feel unhappy seeing the depressing circumstances of the individuals of my village after I was younger. There are authorities amenities however these are far. Poor roads, no electrical energy and poor community in these areas imply lots of hardships for these individuals.”

Dr Mondal’s efforts to carry change in these areas haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2020 he was conferred the Padma Shri for his outstanding contribution.

Talking about it, he says, “It’s in any case an honour. However the actual honour is the love I get from individuals and their respect. That makes me extra proud.”

What’s commendable is his perspective about serving the underprivileged. He hasn’t taken a single day without work not even on the peak of the pandemic when issues have been dangerous.

“I can’t afford to not go to the clinic,” is his argument.

He recounts an occasion the place after performing a routine checkup on a pregnant lady, he advised she go to a authorities hospital for her supply. “However the poor roads meant she by no means reached the hospital. After they lastly did, the infant had died contained in the womb.”

Dr Mondal desires to make sure the individuals of his beloved Sundarbans ought to by no means need to expertise the unintended effects of a negligent healthcare system. “I’ll proceed doing what I can for my individuals, without cost, for so long as I stay.”

Edited by Pranita Bhat


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