Dr Ramana Rao, a consulting physician and cardiologist is the man behind the health of prominent personalities in India like Amitabh Bachan, late Dr Rajkumar, Chief Ministers of the state and bureaucrats. But he does not enjoy his celebrity status. Even though he has a list of reputed patients to show, what makes him unique is his selfless effort of serving the poor for the past 43 years through his free clinic at T Begur village in Bangalore. At a time when medical costs are escalating, Dr.Rao with the help of his family manages to run the clinic since 1974.
When he had gone through the interior areas of the country, he found that there were so much poverty and suffering. He realised that the poor could not even afford the medical expenses. He found several instances when the family lost their breadwinner. This conditions shook his heart and propelled him to establish a free clinic in his home city. “I believe only a doctor can serve the humanity by curing them and reducing the suffering,” Dr Ramana Rao told The Logical Indian.
He opened his free clinic in 1974 and it functions on Sundays. Started with five patients, the hospital has now thousands of patients every Sunday. Patients flock to the clinic from 100 km around, and the queue begins from Saturday night. “Every Sunday, the number of patients varies from 700 to 1200, and we did not even miss a single Sunday”, said doctor Rao. His doctor sons- Dr Charit Bhograj and Dr Abhijeet Bhograj according to him, have a natural flair for rural welfare. His team consists of 35 people including his two sons, ten dentists, six nurses, and one skin specialist.
They spend an amount of Rs 2 lakhs per week to run the clinic. “We meet most of the expense from our own resources and receive 10% as donations from generous hands. Microlab and Himalaya help me with medicines. Now, we face acute shortage of money,” he added.
His philanthropy does not end with treating the poor. He has also built a shed for his patients and provides them free lunch. Apart from the free medical facility, Dr Ramana Rao has made 7000 toilets in the surrounding villages. He has adopted 50 schools in the city and gives books, uniforms and other study materials. His team have also dug four borewells for water supply, connecting 60 villages. He also offers clothes and rice during festivals for the needy.
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. The Logical Indian appreciates his work and hopes that more people follow his footsteps.