Last year, Shankar Ramchandani, a doctor based in Odisha’s Sambalpur, started a ‘One Rupee’ clinic to treat the poor who couldn’t afford to pay heavy fees to doctors. But still, the people were facing the problem of the ability to afford the medicines prescribed by the doctor. So, to solve this problem and to further his long-standing commitment to serve the underprivileged, Ramchandani has launched a ‘One Rupee’ medicine service, where medicines are distributed to the needy people who consult him for just Rs 1.
The service was launched on Saturday, 12 February, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the ‘One Rupee’ clinic, which has been functioning from Burla town’s Kacha Market from 7 am to 8 am and from 6 pm to 7 pm.
Shankar Ramchandani is an assistant professor in the medicine department of Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR). He provides these services after his regular duty hours and his wife Sikha Ramchandani who is a dental surgeon, is helping him in the pioneering work.
Sambalpur does not have adequate medical infrastructure apart from the government-run Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), formerly Burla Medical College (BMC) and Veer Surendra Sai Medical College and Hospital (VSSMCH). And in such a situation, the innovative idea of providing the treatment and medicines at Rs 1 is a great relief.
Shankar Ramchandani said that he joined as a senior resident in VIMSAR and was not allowed to do private practice. “I joined VIMSAR as a senior resident and the senior residents are not allowed to do private practice. Hence, I could not start the ‘One-Rupee’ clinic. But I was promoted as assistant professor recently and as an assistant professor, I am allowed to do private practice after my duty hours. Hence, I have started the clinic in a rented house now. I am a doctor of the masses and not the classes,” he said. When asked the reason for charging Rs 1 token amount, Ramchandani said that he didn’t want the people to feel that they are availing the service free of cost and they should also think that they have paid some money for their treatment.
The ‘One-Rupee’ clinic has provided him with an opportunity to serve the poor, destitute, unprivileged, elderly persons, physically challenged people and the people who do not have access to proper medical care. Ramchandani said that hundreds of people regularly come to the OPD of VIMSAR and one can find a long queue of patients to consult doctors. “I have seen elderly people and people with disabilities waiting for hours for consultation with doctors in OPD. They don’t need to wait for hours and suffer at the hospital. They can come to my clinic and get consultation at Rupee 1 only,” he added. He earlier had hit the headlines when he took a leprosy patient carrying on his arms and dropped him in his house in 2019.
Truly, Shankar Ramchandani has set an example before all of us by showing that a small good initiative can bring smiles to many lives. Let this be an inspiration for us to stand out from the crowd and do something that makes everyone happy.