Dr K Malhar Rao, 77, has been charging only Rs 20 as consultation fees. (Representational)
A 77-year-old doctor in Karnataka's Kalaburagi district has dedicated his life to serving patients at a bare minimum consultation fee.
Dr K Malhar Rao Malle charges as low as Rs 20 as his consultation fees for treating patients.
In the spirit of serving the people who cannot afford health care, the doctor had not taken even a single penny till 2012.
As per an Act passed in 2012, the private medical practitioners had to put up a board, due to which Dr Malle started taking Rs 10 as his fees, he told ANI.
The doctor also told that it was his father who made him pledge that he would not charge people.
"It was my father's dream that I work as a social worker. He wanted me to give out free medicines to people," said the doctor.
Dr Malle said that his grandmother died of ill health, while the family could not avail the services of any doctor.
Speaking to ANI, he said, "At that time we could not get any doctor. For this reason, my father made me study medical sciences and directed me not to take exorbitant fees."
Dr K Malhar Rao Malle has worked as a doctor since 1975 after he completed his MBBS in 1974.
Until recently, he used to charge Rs 10.
The 77-year-old doctor also explained the reason for increasing fees: "Over the years, I have never owned a place of my own. Since 1974 have lived in a rented place. I have to pay the rent and salary of those who work here for me. Recently, the rent increased so I was forced to charge an extra Rs 10."
Bhavani Singh, a patient who has been consulting Dr Malle for the last 30-35 years, said, "Only God knows how he manages to live on Rs 20. I have no words to appreciate what he is doing. In the Covid-19 pandemic, some have shut their clinics. Dr Malle would never do such a thing. Even in such harsh times, the doctor has been very generous by consulting his patients as he used to and by charging a nominal rate."
A lot of his patients belong to the nearby slum area. Daily, on an average 75-100 patients visit Dr Malle.
The doctor described that he is flushed with happiness when the people of lower-income groups come and tell him that the prescribed medicines worked. "There are a lot of slum areas here. I feel happy when they appreciate me by saying that the medicine helped in their medical problem. I feel so much pleasure and I feel inspired by this," said Dr Malle.
"I would never forget what my father told me. I will work like this for a lifetime," concluded Dr Malle.