A winner of Bharat Jyoti award, Chhaya Raman Patnaik endears himself to people who always oppose his transfer.
BERHAMPUR: It is not the lack of infrastructure but lack of proper mindset that is preventing doctors from serving people in rural areas. Chhaya Raman Patnaik, a doctor who spent 24 years in remote rural dispensaries in the State, is trying to prove it.
Recently he was honoured with Bharat Jyoti award for his efforts to provide medical help in rural areas while medical students are opposing the move by the government to make serving rural areas for a definite period mandatory for every doctor.
The affection of localites towards him and his reciprocation have prevented him from being transferred from a remote primary health centre (PHC) at Dengaosta in Ganjam district for the past 14 years. The local villagers always oppose his transfer as they know the other doctor posted to his place may not prefer to come to the village at all.
Dr. Patnaik had been transferred to Dengaosta in 1994 after his service in remote PHCs of Nowrangpur district. When he joined at Dengaosta, the PHC was running in a single room. His first decision was to rent another room at the village and stay back except weekend visits to his family in the city. It had its impact and his staff, including the midwife and the pharmacist, who were not regular to their duty, also started attending the dispensary regularly.
Four years ago the PHC could have its own building with a quarter for the doctor attached to it. Dr. Patnaik now also prefers to stay back at the village for most of the time of the week. Despite lack of facilities he has to perform minor operations at the PHC as the poor patients usually do not want to spend extra money even on travel to Berhampur. According to him, every doctor has no problem to serve rural areas till their children reach school-going age. But it is the selfish attitude that is preventing young doctors from reaching out rural PHCs to serve people who need the health services the most.