Arun Nevatia's life was full of ups and downs. He had seen the worst phase of his life when he was diagnosed with a deadly disease—cancer. What followed was the mental agony associated with it.
The 47-year-old, a resident of West Bengal, was diagnosed with Leukaemia when he was just 10. While his peers were enjoying their childhood, Nevatia had to go through the suffering of chemo and radiotherapy. His disease relapsed multiple times. In addition, an array of associated diseases like diabetes, cataract, thyroid, etc would follow. But Nevatia was blessed with superior intelligence and used to be the topper of his school.
While pursuing his graduation, he met a girl who married him despite his health condition. After completing his education, Nevatia joined the housing construction business and worked for 20 years. During this period, the fact dawned upon him that he could fight the disease as he now had access to the best doctors and expensive medicines to cure him. This was possible only because of his affluent financial background, according to The Times of India.
But he always used to think, "What about the millions of people who suffer from cancer and were unable to afford good health care. During his regular visits to Mumbai, he realised that the medical facilities in India were deplorable and people have to suffer even for basic ailments, especially in rural areas.
In his constant struggle for survival, his wife Falguni Nevatia and his elder brother Anant Nevatia were the pillars of strength. She had faced strong opposition from her family as she was marrying a person who had little chance of surviving beyond a few years. She even resigned from her teaching job at a premier school in the city to serve society with her husband in his quest for greater fulfillment. His brother and business associate also joined him in this crusade instead of continuing the thriving real estate business.
How Rural Health Care Foundation Started?
The trio opened a primary health centre in Bengal's Mayapur. The rationale behind it was that poor people are not provided health care at the initial level, making them enter into a vicious cycle of poverty, exploitation, and apathy. The initiative received a phenomenal response and gained 8000 patients in the first month of its operation. Seeing the effectiveness of a small idea, many school friends joined hands with them and public trust was formed in the name of Rural Health Care Foundation.
Rural Health Care Foundation (RHCF) is focused on providing high-quality primary care at low cost to the poor and underprivileged communities in West Bengal. Their 11 out-patient healthcare centres, with General Medicine, Optometry, Dentistry, and Homeopathy departments and a pharmacy with nearly 200 kinds of generic medicines, make primary medical care affordable and available to the rural and urban under-served communities across the state.
The patients are provided with medical consultation at Rs.80 and a one-week supply of medications for free. In addition, it provides subsidised spectacles. Cataract and pterygium surgeries are also provided for free, in collaboration with Rotary Eye Hospitals, with patients only bearing the travelling expenses.
Till date, the trust has treated over 2.6 million patients at their healthcare centres and the mission is to improve the lives of many more.
Despite how hard life had been on him, Arun Nevatia always used to be mentally strong and serve people no matter what. He was not afraid that his health couldn't support him long enough in his endeavour, he believed that he did not need health or wealth but only the true spirit. He had no regrets in life and wished to serve people until his last breath. After fighting a prolonged battle with cancer, he passed away in 2013.