A doctor in Hyderabad has been treating people for just Rs 10 with the intention to provide medical care at an affordable price to the economically backward classes of the society.
Since 2018, Dr Victor Emmanuel has been treating the poor at his Hyderabad clinic for Rs 10.
People with a white ration card or a food security card are charged this fee while soldiers are provided treatment for free.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Dr Victor Emmanuel said, "I started this clinic with the sole purpose of serving the needy and offering them affordable treatment. Under this, we have identified few sections of the society who are economically deprived and who hold food security cards or white ration cards. Apart from them, we provide the same service to farmers, acid attack survivors, orphans, specially-abled people and even jawans and their family members."
An effort is being made to try and cut down the cost of various lab tests and medicines for them, the doctor said.
Dr Emmanuel treats people for various diseases like diabetes, cardiac-related issues, nerves-related issues and other general ailments.
While many private hospitals and clinics have been charging patients hefty amounts, Dr Victor Emmanuel has been treating Covid patients for Rs 10, providing them the required medications and helping them with home isolation.
He said that currently they are treating over 100 patients per day and initially when the cases were surging, the clinic used to have a footfall of over 140 Covid patients a day.
"Sometimes, we used to close the hospital at midnight and on a day-long duty, we used to treat over 140-150 patients. On average we are seeing over 100 patients currently," he said.
Over the last one year, the clinic has treated over 20,000 to 25,000 Covid patients, he said.
Speaking about financial management, Dr Victor Emmanuel said that initially they were hesitant to run a clinic that charged patients Rs 10. However, as people started to identify with the cause behind this clinic, they started showing up and now the project is "for the patients and by the patients".
Dr Victor said that one particular incident has changed his perspective towards treating people. "Once I saw a woman begging on the roads in front of a hospital so that she could buy medicines for her husband who was under treatment in the hospital ICU. This incident changed my life. That is when I have decided to serve the needy and poor. Throughout this journey till date, my friends and family, including my wife who herself is a doctor, have been supportive."
He said he is often asked why he charges Rs 10 and doesn't provide free treatment. "I charge them Rs 10, because I don't want the patients to think that they are being treated out of mercy. This is to safeguard their self-respect. They walk in the clinic, pay Rs 10, get themselves checked and walk out happily without feeling that someone showed mercy to them and their financial status."
He further said that during the pandemic, the clinic is trying to feed the poor and needy under the banner of "Sneha Hastham". He also said that they are about to open a charitable hospital to extend the Rs 10 treatment to a much larger number of people.