National Doctor’s Day is observed every year on July 1. The day commemorates the birth as well as the death anniversary of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, former chief minister of West Bengal. The day is dedicated to all the doctors and healthcare workers who have been serving people by risking their lives.
As a result of the pandemic, the role of frontline workers has become more important than ever. Smile Foundation celebrates the lives and contributions by our doctors, nurses, and health care workers. Here are some of their moving stories to celebrate Doctor’s Day.
Inspiring stories from the ground on Doctor’s Day
Swapna, Community Mobilizer, Smile on Wheels
Swapna works with our Smile on Wheels programme in Hyderabad. In her role as community mobilised, she keeps a tab on the well-being of the people in the local community. “I was raised to believe that extending care to those who need it the most is the biggest act of kindness. As a result, my biggest desire was to become a doctor someday. During the course of achieving my dream, I found an opportunity to work in close contact with the community. I faced the harsh reality and realized that working as a doctor would not fulfill the true purpose of my life. I still wanted to help people, but feeling the pain of those who struggle to pay the doctor’s fee changed my perspective.”
Swapna met tons of people who felt it is better to hold on to their daily wage to feed their families rather than giving it to a doctor. They were suffering in silence. Thus, she decided to start visiting remote communities in rural areas and inaccessible slums. She listened to their problems and extended help. “My job now is to mobilize such people and sensitize them into seeking proper healthcare provided free of cost through the medical unit of Smile On Wheels,” she says. Now when someone asks her what she does, she proudly replies, “My job is to help people!”
Vani, ANM, Smile on Wheels
“I have been working as a nurse for more than 20 years. Seeing the grateful emotions reflected in a patient’s eyes pushes me to work harder for them. The amount of love I receive when I am serving them fills me with immense gratitude,” says Vani, an ANM worker for Smile on Wheels. Her undeterred service towards people belonging to far-flung villages and slums during this time of crisis is an inspiration in itself.
Srabanti, ANM, Smile on Wheels
In a pandemic-gripped world, people in remote regions have lost access to effective healthcare. Our tele-counseling initiative, ‘Baaton Baaton Mein Sehat‘, has rallied to help those in need. ANM Srabanti Das from the Smile on Wheels programme in Kolkata is one such person who is striving hard to keep track of the health of people from tight-knit slum clusters and far-flung rural areas by providing them with essential consultation and awareness on COVID-19 during this difficult time.
Deepak Kumar, Ambulance Driver, Kolkata Municipal Corporation
Smile Foundation salutes individuals like Deepak Kumar who have been waging the war against COVID-19 at the frontlines. “Coronavirus has turned all our lives upside down. For the past two months, I have been ferrying COVID-19 patients to the hospital. I work like this for 14 hours every day, but I have no idea how many of these patients make it out alive out of the hospital. I always keep a smile on my face despite the dreary circumstances,” says the untiring and selfless Deepak.
He further adds that despite the demanding schedule and meagre pay, he and his wife feel grateful to be able to serve these patients. He recently provided ration to a few needy families in his locality as a way of easing the burden of the crisis.
Sunita, ANM, Smile on Wheels
Sunita works with the Haryana chapter of Smile on Wheels as an ANM. The pandemic posed many challenges to her which she has never encountered before. However, she laboured on and continues to do so. “Having double roles to perform as a homemaker and as a health worker was a bit tough in this pandemic, especially with my sick mother-in-law at home. But I know that health cannot wait for anyone at home or on the ground,” she shares.
Dr. Anurag Sobhari, EGI Project, Gurgaon
Dr. Anurag Sobhari has been working as a doctor with Smile on Wheels in Gurgaon since the past five years. During these COVID times, the role he plays as a doctor has definitely increased tremendously and has become quite vital. He shares his experiences.
“The people who need health care services were unable to get them because of COVID-19. People are scared to go to the hospitals for check-ups due to the fear of catching the virus. So we are taking OPD to the doorsteps in slums for the underprivileged and marginalized people. The patients who come to our Smile on Wheels van always tell me that they are facing many problems due to the lockdown and this pandemic. I have even had to do home visits sometimes.”
Ritu, ANM, EGI PROJECT, Gurgaon
Ritu, and ANM with Smile on Wheels in Gurgaon shares that the SoW vans have played an important role during the pandemic for the elderly, women, as well as children.
“As a health worker, it is my responsibility to serve the community in any situation. Sometimes my parents are concerned about my health and safety due to the possibility of exposure to the virus. But I tell them that the pandemic is a tough time and we should try to help those in need,” she adds.
Sujata, ANM, Smile on Wheels
Sujata is a resident of village Patlikuhal in Himachal Pradesh. Her home is around 24 kms from Kullu where the Smile Foundation office is. So she has to travel around 50 kms daily to and from work. She has been working in the Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) in Kullu.
“Our team members remained fearless in the face of COVID. We were always ready with our MMU to serve the people in need. PoC tests were also conducted whenever required,” she shares.
Smile Foundation salutes all the frontline health workers on the occasion of Doctor’s Day. Kudos to our warriors who are fighting the COVID pandemic.