Sitting in Central Delhi, a man receives a postcard from a stranger in Andhra Pradesh listing 10 health tips. “Health for all-All for health,” it says.
Signed by Dr. Araveeti Ramyogaiah, a retired paediatrician spreading awareness of health issues, 127 such postcards were sent on the same day.
The doctor tells The Hindu that he has written over 32,000 such postcards to strangers, hoping to spread awareness about health problems.
“A year after joining government service in 1978 in Kallur, Andhra Pradesh, I noticed a gap between the education I had received and the health care services in rural areas. I felt that there was a need to bridge this vast gap and thus started my journey,” says Dr. Ramyogaiah.
When he gets a phone call, the first thing he does is ask for the caller’s address. Sometimes, he sends postcards to unknown addresses, hoping they reach someone.
He has written postcards to around 18,000 government schools and primary health centres in Andhra Pradesh. It has been 19 years since he started posting the messages and there is no stopping him now.
Being a former State coordinator of the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, Dr. Ramyogaiah started educating rural mothers about breastfeeding through postcards. In 1994, his hospital was the first government-run hospital in the district to be labelled ‘baby-friendly’.
Inspired by the World Health Organisation’s message of an inclusive dialogue on health, he emphasises on the need of people’s participation for spreading awareness.
“It is not a one-way process,” he says.
Through his campaign, “Health for billion plus”, the retired Additional Director of Health is trying to spark a debate on health issues. With postcards as his medium, Dr. Ramyogaiah hopes to continue spreading his message from the outskirts of Hyderabad to people across the country.
“I noticed a gap between the education and the health care services in rural areas. I felt that there was a need to bridge this vast gap”