Ankit Sharma Sharma
Green tea Addict | A Tree Hugger | Born for Change
Last Sunday, when Dr. Kishore Chandra Das packed his bags to leave Tentulikhunti, and pursue a post-graduate degree in orthopedics at a private medical college-cum-hospital in Bhubaneshwar, over 500 people, young and old, gathered on the streets to bid him a tearful farewell.
Eight years ago when Dr. Das got posted at a dilapidated community health center in Tentulikhunti, Odisha, the townsfolk had no idea about the kind of impact he would leave on the people and the community as a whole.
“The entire town seemed to be crying,” a resident, Tulu Satpathy, who participated in the farewell march taken out from the health center to the outskirts of the town in Odisha’s Nabarangpur district, told Hindustan Times.
“They hugged Dr. Das and asked him to return after he had completed his higher studies. So many people came to see him off that the main road of the town was completely jammed for over an hour,” he added.
Praising the young doctor, Tentulikhunti block development officer Anakar Thakur said, “Dr. Das was always at the beck and call of over 70,000 people on our block.”
During his stint at Tentulikhunti, the 32-year-old doctor single-handedly turned the dilapidated community health center into a modern medical facility with an operation theatre of its own in less than a decade.
Dr. Das, who is a graduate of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Medical Sciences in Bengaluru, revamped the health center by setting up an air-conditioned delivery room, an operation theatre, and an oxygen concentrator, among other facilities. Not only that, he worked for extended hours to see the patients who came from far off places.
“People would come here from far-off places, spending as much as Rs 300-400 on travel. I felt bad turning them away just because he had arrived late,” said Dr. Das.
When the nearby village of Jharigumma witnessed a diarrhea outbreak in 2014, it was Dr. Das who took up the responsibility to bring the situation under control. He set up a medical team to treat those affected by the ailment and urged the government officials to stop sewage from seeping into the local well.
A few months later, in an inaccessible village, there was a measles outbreak. Dr. Das made sure that all the residents of this village were given vaccinations.
Nabarangpur chief district medical officer Saroj Nayak said, “Dr. Das did a splendid job here. Even the day before he was supposed to leave, he planted over 500 saplings on the hospital campus. He is a very popular figure in our region.”
Doctor Das is touched by the amount of love the people showered at him. “I will surely return to Tentulikhunti if I get the chance. Since childhood, I was told that doctors are like God to their patients. The people here treated me like one,” he said.
It is heartwarming to see Dr. Das’ selfless service to citizens’ well-being that made people gather on the streets, and give a tearful farewell.
Also published on Medium.
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