India’s “two rupees doctor” was presented the Padma Sri Award for Medicine by the President of India. Dr. V. Thiruvengadam was awarded posthumously.
Born in Tamil Nadu, Dr. V. Thiruvengadam always wanted to become a doctor to serve the poor and this he did for more than four decades. He studied at a government college and after graduating set up a practice to serve the poor.
His fee was two rupees for many years and then raised to five rupees. This is unbelievable given the strong desire of most doctors to get rich from the profession. Given the culture that a doctor must be making tons of money, it only demonstrates that this doctor had a mind of his own not to go along with the norms of the profession.
Without a doubt, Dr. V. Thiruvendagam was targeting the very poor who could hardly afford food, far more medical bills. Many within his profession must have tried to convince him to increase his fee to keep on par with the profession.
The well-to-do would have certainly dismissed him as a ‘quack’ and opted for a doctor who was demanding a higher fee. They would have reasoned that he was not competent in his profession and hence the reason he was charging so little.
Is there a doctor who is charging less than $100 in Trinidad and Tobago? If you know of one, please inform me so that I can write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have him/her included in the list for Padma Sri Awards for the following year.
With the increasing popularity of home remedies and bush medicine, our medical professionals should make hey while the sun shines. Earlier this year, an herbalist from India administered an eye drop to numerous covid patients who claimed to be cured and refused to wear the mask. Yoga and Ayurvedic guru, Swami Ramdev have developed a Patanjali brand of products that is rivaling popular brands in the west such as Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive.
Home remedies are not going to die that easily. In many homes in Trinidad and Tobago, traditional concoctions are used to treat cough, the common cold, and even remove crystals in the kidney and bladder. There are many who have willingly provided testimonies on the efficacy of these natural cures that some medical practitioners are not going to dismiss that easily.
Sadly, the patient is no longer the center of focus in the medical industry but the doctors, the pharma giants, and other companies that provide complex medical equipment and medications that have ballooned the cost of medical care. The recent reports of Pfizer not carrying out proper trial tests on its vaccine is only the tip of an iceberg of malpractices in the medical industry. Even the origins of the Covid 19 virus remain shrouded in secrecy with many holding the view that it was manufactured in a laboratory to justify the sale of vaccines.
Few doctors have removed their focus from their remunerations rather than getting their patients well. Dr. Balliram Hedgewar, founder of the RSS, a socio-cultural organization of India that serves the welfare of the people, was a qualified medical doctor. He worked selflessly for the welfare of the Indian people and never practiced medicine for a single day. Despite this, he was dubbed a ‘doctor for all of India’ for his sacrifice to build a strong and dynamic organization to take India out of the abyss of colonialism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a product of RSS.
Argentinian-born Che Guevarra was a leading figure in the Cuban revolution. After fighting to overthrow the Batista dictatorship and establishing communist rule in Cuba, Che Guevarra went on to fight alongside freedom fighters in Latin America to overthrow dictatorships to give the poorest of the poor a better livelihood. His life came to an end in Bolivia where he was killed in battle.
The current cost of medical care in the country is prohibitive. It is now becoming necessary for all to use some of the home remedies to help treat common ailments. Dr. B. M. Hedge’s videos are worth looking at to get an alternative view of modern medicine. He surmised that individuals who don’t use modern medicine have a better chance of living a healthy life. This view he backed with a tremendous outpouring of data.
The hope that Ayurvedic healing methods would be an alternative to modern medicine appears to be shattered. The few that claim to have knowledge of this ‘exotic’ healing method have equally prohibitive fees, at least in Trinidad. It appears that to be sick is to be cursed with the obligation to accept the worse. But this can be changed when we accept that sickness is part of human existence and there is no reason for panic when we are destined to die anyway.
Medical care should be easily accessible as was done when Mao Tse Tung created the ‘barefoot’ doctors. These doctors were traditional folk healers and other rural health practitioners known to the people. Mao Tse Tung did not seek the approval of the World Health Organization (WHO) or the North Americans and Europeans. He demonstrated that he had the strength and courage to take decisions that are rooted in the culture of the people to tackle health issues. Today the success of China is a bitter pill for many to swallow!
(Anyway, the bet is on. Please find me a Trini doctor who charges $100 TT and I would see to it that he is included in the 2022 list for Padma Shri.)