It is very difficult to leave a normal life and selflessly do something for the betterment of the society. This year, the government of India decided to honour the life and work of three such people from Vidarbha with the Padma Shri award.
After completing their medical education in India as well as in USA, Dr. Rani Bang and Dr. Abhay Bang decided to take up a path, not a lot of doctors would go for. They realised that their services and skills were required in the economically and socially backward areas. Hence, they started their medical practice in areas that had problems rather than areas that had advanced medical facilities.
The couple established the tribal friendly hospital and a community-based healthcare programme in 134 villages. This doctor couple are the only Indian medical researchers to have conducted and published in the Lancet, a worldwide premier medical journal, three original research papers on three different health problems each of which was a global first.
“Our vision is to realise Arogya Swaraj: Sustainable Health at the micro-level. People’s health in people’s hands, by empowering individuals and communities to take charge of their own health, and thereby, help them achieve freedom from disease as well as dependence,” says Dr Abhay Bang.
It is with this motto, that the SEARCH (Society for Education, Action & Research in Community Health) was born. The couple believes that the real development of India can happen only when the Indian villages are developed. Apart from providing surgical care to tribal patients, SEARCH also undertakes gender equality and sex education workshops in order to educate people about their bodies. SEARCH has also aimed at tackling the increasing infant mortality rate, liquor ban in Gadchiroli, women’s issues and tribal health.
With programs like these, Dr. Rani Bang and Dr. Abhay Bang are trying to bring development in the grass root levels of the society. With the Padma Shri, the country will come to know about the life and work of this inspiring couple.
"It would boost our efforts to work harder for the society, particularly in the rural health care sector. The government had already acknowledged and appreciated our works through various recognitions and honours at different points of time despite we being critical of their approach," said Dr Abhay.
When in 1991, his son was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease, Sampat Ramteke made it his mission in life to spread awareness about the disease. A sickle-cell disease is a rare form of blood disorder, inherited from parents. In this disease, red blood cells in the body resemble a sickle and the haemoglobin’s shape is not normal.
Late Sampat Ramteke, spent 26 years spreading awareness about SCD in India. He reached out to as many people as he could in order to fight for the rights of SCD patients.
After his son was diagnosed with SCD, Ramteke decided to get in touch with people who suffered from this disease, to get as much information as possible about this condition.
He was the President of the ‘Sickle-cell’ Society of India and helped thousands of patients in India who suffered from this disease.
He relentlessly spread awareness about this disease by travelling from village to village and conducting blood tests on people.
Two months ago, Ramteke passed away due to a massive cardiac arrest.
“I am very happy today, the central government has recognised my husband’s work. He started spreading public awareness about ‘sickle-cell’ by organising camps in the village. He used to visit villages, talking to people, conducting their blood check-up. On few occasion, he had carried out ‘morcha’ against the government. He helped thousands of patients with sickle-cell disease gain their rights,” said his wife Jaya Ramteke.
“Sometimes the pain is so much that a patient thinks of committing suicide. Parents find it very difficult to deal with the situation. We’ve been through this. So, now we counsel the patients. They are given mental support to fight against the illness. In America, there is a ‘sickle-cell’ law for patients. Such a law should be made in India too. So that patients will get their rights,” she added.
Back in the day, due to lack of information about this disease, it was difficult to find a proper course of treatment. Ramteke brought books from USA, in order to have thorough knowledge about the disease and worked at the grass-root level to create awareness about it.
Information source: timesofindia