At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has kept most senior citizens indoors, an 87-year-old doctor from Mul in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district has been going out of his way to attend to his patients in remote villages. With only his bicycle for company, Ramchandra Dandekar has been travelling barefoot for at least 10 km every day to villages in Mul, Pombhurna and Ballarshah talukas for the last 60 years, providing free doorstep treatment to people.
The current health crisis has not deterred the practitioner of Homeopathy and Ayurveda from stepping out of his home.
Talking to PTI, Dandekar says, “My routine is the same as before. I want to continue to provide selfless service to the poor in villages.”
After completing his diploma from the Nagpur College of Homeopathy in 1957-58, Dandekar worked as a lecturer at the Chandrapur Homeopathy College for a year, before shifting to rural areas to serve in villages.
His elder son Jayant Dandekar says the octogenarian has a fixed timetable for his visits to villages on weekdays and carries only his medical kit and medicines with him.
He does not even carry a mobile phone or a watch during his trips.
“If he has to attend to patients in faraway talukas, he travels by bus and visits the homes on cycles kept in villages. And if he gets late, he chooses to stay back at someone’s house,” his son says.
“Everyone calls him ‘Doctor Sahab Mul waale’, and he visits around 20 homes in each village,” he says.
Although his visits have now reduced a little, the doctor has continued to serve his patients amid the pandemic, despite the risk of infection.
“He guides and advises people to get admitted to nearby hospitals if they are found suffering from fever or other symptoms of the virus,” says his son, who is proud of his father’s selfless service.