An NRI doctor nurtures his roots

Showing the way: Kakarala Prasad and his wife Uma Devi at Venkataraghavapuram near Gudivada in Krishna district on Monday.   | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

In 1959, Dr. Kakarala Prasad, son of K. Bhaskara Rao and Venkata Subbayamma, passed out of the ZP High School Vennanapudi, which hardly had basic infrastructure, with a Secondary School Leaving Certificate.

Fifty-nine years later, on Monday, Dr. Prasad, a native of Ramapuram (now Venkata Raghava Puram, also birthplace of legendary actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao) was at the same school in the neighbouring village interacting with the students and the staff. It is now a “Success School” and offers Telugu and English mediums of instruction. The school is all praise for the veteran doctor because of his contribution to its development over three decades.

The school has buildings for classrooms, kitchen and laboratories and even a newly inaugurated cycle stand developed with his contributions.

It is the first school in the State to get G+1 building with the contribution of Dr. Prasad under Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Janmabhumi programme in 1998. The school, named after his father, was inaugurated by Mr. Naidu.

Much before that, Dr. Prasad, who has been practising in the U.S. for the past 41 years as paediatrician, gave away his five-acre land and house in Ramapuram for a clinic developed by him. The clinic was later upgraded as Primary Health Centre by the government and is still the only healthcare solution for many villages nearby.

“This is an addiction. Once you do something for your village you feel like doing more and more of such activities,” Dr. Prasad sums up about his service. He also funded road development and sanitation projects in Ramapuram.

At 74, he came all the way from the U.S. to visit the PHC to inquire about the infrastructure required for setting up a telemedicine centre.

“It was my friend Bhanu Prasad who introduced me to the joy of helping others. When we were studying in Vijayawada, we gave free food for engineering students. Now we [friends’ circle] are running a charitable trust in his name that has a fund of ₹50 lakh,” Dr. Prasad says.

“In a bid to give back to my village, I paved the way for the clinic. Now I am going to meet the Health Minister to seek help for a new building for the Kakinada government hospital which has become congested. The alumnus of the Rangaraya Medical College (RMC) are ready to fund half of the ₹40-crore project,” Dr. Prasad, who graduated in medicine from the RMC, says.

Dr. Prasad is also involved in philanthropical activities in Ohio where he has been living for the past several decades.

Apart from voluntarily teaching paediatrics at the University of Toledo, Dr. Prasad also provides scholarships to students there.

His services were recognised by the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) recently and he received the prestigious Dr. Guthikonda Ravindranath Award for Community Service through initiatives like Adopt-a-village, Adopt-a-child and others.

His wife Uma Devi and children also joined him in the development of the village. The PHC in Ramapuram does not have a resident doctor since long and telemedicine centre is seen as a solution to the problem.

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Printable version | Sep 15, 2021 8:09:19 AM |

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