Residents of Rakcham village, in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, were happy about finally getting a doctor in October 2019 after months in their local Public Health Centre (PHC). But there were certain reservations.
Dr Shilpa Kumar’s genuine efforts to make individual report cards for patients with diabetes and hypertension impressed the villagers, who were neglected till then. She focussed on people needing regular check-ups and minor trauma cases.
Her sincere attempts to be friends with patients and give them health advice at every stage assured them that this doctor was here to stay and would not leave them like the rest.
After this wholehearted acceptance by 800 odd villagers, it did not feel right to leave the village and go home in Bengaluru during the nationwide lockdown in March owing to global COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first 4-5 months, Dr Shilpa was the only serving doctor in the local PHC. Even today, there is no nurse or other medical staff in the centre.
While there is enough medical equipment, lack of manpower often comes in the way of helping patients and sometimes for bigger cases she has to direct them to Sangla’s government hospital, which is 13 kilometres away.
To help people deal with the pandemic, the 29-year-old doctor personally went to every household in Rakcham and checked for vital signs and fever.
Alongside educating people about coronavirus and assuring her parents that she is safely tucked away in the valley, Dr Shilpa attends the Sangla PHC daily for OPD-related cases. Her weekends are usually spent on going for hikes.
Living in varied cities and interacting with people educated her huge difference in terms of health facilities in big cities like Mumbai and small towns like Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. This played an influential role in Dr Shilpa’s life as she always wanted to go beyond the corridors of the hospital and provide her medical services to the needy.
Leaving everything and packing our bags to get away from our tedious life is something that most of us have thought about but various factors like courage, risk and comfort zones hold us back. For Dr Shilpa too, the decision was hard but not an impossible one.
Reference: The Better India