Tamil Nadu

TN man who struggled against all odds to become doctor, now helps village residents battle COVID-19

Dr V. Venkatraman treating a patient   | Photo Credit: C Venkatachalapathy

From walking 30 kilometres to school to working at construction sites on holidays to earn money, this 31-year-old doctor from a tribal hamlet in Tirupathur has fought against odds to complete his MBBS and become the first graduate in his family. Now, he helps residents of his village fight against COVID-19, as well as quacks.

Meet V. Venkatraman, of Malai Tirupathur village on the Jawadu Hills. He now works as a doctor at the Government Upgraded Primary Health Centre (UGPHC) at Pudur Nadu, which caters to people from 30 villages atop the hills.

“My father Vedi and mother Maari are farmers. I used to graze cattle when I was a child. Soundarajan, the teacher at a school run by the Forest Department, motivated me and enrolled me directly in Class IV. My family did not encourage me to study, so I used to attend classes for a few days and help my parents on the remaining days,” said Dr. Venkatraman.

After completing his primary schooling, he developed an interest in academics. “I could not get admission to a school hostel in Class IX, so I had to walk 30 kilometres to school at Pudur Nadu and return to my village. As there was no support from my family, I used to go to Bangalore and Chennai for construction work and save the money for my education. This started when I was in in Class IX and continued till I finished school,” he explained.

He wanted to make it big in life and serve his villagers. “So I decided to pursue medicine. After much hard work, I scored 1,000 out of 1,200 marks in the Class XII board examinations. I applied for a medical seat and joined Presidency College in Chennai as a back-up,” he added. However, he got admission at the Tiruchi Medical College. “But I didn’t have sufficient money to join the course. Luckily, Manjunath, the then Tirupathur District Forest Officer, offered help and I managed to become a doctor,” he said.

He was initially posted at the Urban Primary Health Centre at Tirupathur, and a month ago, was transferred to Pudur Nadu. “People here lack awareness of COVID-19 and vaccination. I go around conducting camps and educating people. Besides quacks are a big problem here. I am trying to weed them out,” Dr. Venkatraman said.

T.R. Senthil, deputy director, health services, Tirupathur, said Dr. Venkatraman played a vital role in reducing COVID-19 cases at Pudur Nadu which had turned into a hotspot. “An NGO called Action on Hunger and Poverty helped us set up a COVID Care Centre by providing beds and cots,” Dr. Senthil said.

Dr. Venkatraman now wants to motivate youngsters in the villages and help them achieve their dreams. “I don’t want them to struggle like me,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 8:40:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-man-who-struggled-against-all-odds-to-become-doctor-now-helps-village-residents-battle-covid-19/article34878914.ece

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