A doctor in Odisha's Sambalpur district has opened a "One Rupee" clinic to provide treatment to the poor and underprivileged people.
Shankar Ramchandani an assistant professor in the department of medicine at Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Burla, has opened the clinic in Burla town where patients have to pay just one Rupee for treatment.
Mr Ramchandani said that the one Rupee fee clinic is part of his long standing desire to provide free treatment to the poor and underprivileged beyond duty hour.
"I joined VIMSAR as a senior resident and senior residents are not allowed to do private practice. Hence, I could not start the ''One-Rupee'' clinic. But I was promoted as assistant professor recently and as an assistant professor, I am allowed to do private practice after my duty hours and hence, I have started the clinic in a rented house now", said the 38-year-old doctor.
Asked why he charges one Rupee, Mr Ramchandani said "I charge one Rupee from the poor and underprivileged people as I don't want them to feel that they are availing the service free of cost. They should also think that they have paid some money for their treatment."
The clinic, which has been set up at the Kachha Market area in Burla town remain open from 7 AM to 8 AM in the morning and 6 PM to 7 PM in the evening. The "One-Rupee" clinic has provided him with an opportunity to serve the poor, destitute, unprivileged, elderly persons, physically challenged people and the people who do not have access to proper medical care.
"I am a doctor of the masses and not the classes", he said.
Mr Ramchandani said hundreds of people regularly come to the OPD of VIMSAR and one can find a long queue of patients to consult doctors. "I have seen elderly people and people with disabilities waiting for hours for consultation with doctors in OPD. They dont need to wait for hours and suffer at the hospital. They can come to my clinic and get consultation at Rupee 1 only," he added.
Mr Ramchandani's wife, Sikha Ramchandani, a dental surgeon, is also helping him. The clinic was inaugurated on Friday and 33 patients came to the clinic on the first day, he said.
Mr Ramchandani, who had also hit the headlines when he took a leprosy patient carrying hin his arms and dropped him in his house in 2019, said, "my late father, Brahmanand Ramchandani had told me to set up a nursing home. But a nursing home requires huge investment and it is not possible to provide treatment to poor people at Rupee 1 in a nursing home. Hence, I decided to open this "One-Rupee" clinic."
Mr Ramchandani had also drawn the attention of all and received widespread appreciation when he attended a COVID-19 patient beyond his duty hour and also carried the patient to VIMSAR in his car amid the scourge of novel coronavirus in October last year.