Maha: Dr Ravindra and Dr Smita Kolhe to be bestowed with Padma Shri

Dr Ravindra Kolhe and Dr Smita Kolhe have transformed the lives of the tribals of Melghat. They have improved health outcomes in the area and helped the villagers gain access to affordable healthcare and primary health centres, and charged just Rs 1 for consultation, the fee itself is utilised for buying the medicines. This is the story of their incredible journey

Dr Ravindra and Dr Smita Kolhe to be bestowed with Padma Shri

Dr Ravindra Kolhe decided he wanted to offer his services at some place that was far away from any medical facility. He chose Bairagarh, a remote village located in Melghat taluka in Amravati, Maharashtra.

The journey to Melghat started from Amravati and all transport ended at Harisal, from where one had to walk 40 km to reach Bairagarh village.

Children were dying in Melghat due to malnutrition, or people were dying of pneumonia, malaria, snake bites, etc. So far, researchers used to find out just the reason behind the deaths, but no one researched the reason behind the reason for the deaths, which was poverty.

“They died of pneumonia because they didn’t have enough clothes to keep them warm in winter. They died of malnutrition because they had no work and hence no money once the farming season was over. We wanted to ‘cure’ these root causes of death,” says Dr Ravindra Kolhe.

By charging just Rs 1 for medical consultation for the last 30 years, he has made a huge contribution in bringing down the mortality rate down to 60 per 1,000. Although, Dr Ravindra Kolhe has an MBBS degree and provides medical treatment patient; his wife Dr Smita specialises in Ayurveda, and provides traditional medicine and treatment to the villagers.

Since the last 30-35 years, Dr Kolhe has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the people in Bairagarh by providing them with affordable healthcare.

My Medical Mantra has recently met the doctor couple in Amravati and spoke with them about the endeavours and efforts that they have taken.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Ravindra Kolhe, said, “I decided to work in this remote area as there were no proper roads leading to the village. We have to walk around 40 kms to reach Bairagarh village itself.”

Sharing an emotional incident which they came occurs while working for the welfare of the tribal people in Melghat, Dr Kolhe, said, “I remember an incident where a mother had brought her child to us for treatment. The child was critically ill. We did our best to treat him, but sadly, he passed away. His mother while looking at the lifeless body of her child said, ‘The doctors worked so hard to save you, you should have been alive.’ It was very difficult for us to witness that emotion.”

While Dr Ravindra treats his children, Dr Smita helps her husband in treating the patients in any which way she can. The nominal fee of Rs 1 is used to buy the medicines needed to treat the patients.

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