Twenty three year old Savan Singh Rodh is training for the National level Boxing Championships after a yearlong break from active sports. He was one out of the 10 semifinalists from Haryana who marched into the finals of the inaugural junior men’s National Championship. But that was not to be as he had a major injury in his knee and spine during his training sessions that his boxing career was written off. The doctors told him that he had a severe infection in the spine and only a surgery could cure him. Belonging to a farmer community, his father Raj Singh Rodh could not afford a surgery and so Savan Rodh’s dream of making his country proud went down the drain. But it was thanks to Dr NItish Mandal who cured him without any surgery through his new method of Pain Management therapy. Today Savan Singh Rodh is back in shape not just training for the National level Boxing championship but also training other youngsters from his village near Bhiwani.
“When the doctors here told me that I will not be able to go back to boxing, I was so disheartened. We could not afford the money for the surgery. Had doctor sahib not come to my rescue, I was only contemplating suicide. I lost my career and with no money to treat myself of this excruciating pain for the last year, I had lost everything. Every doctor here asked me to go for surgery. Doctor Sahab has been kind enough to reach out to me and treated without any surgery without charging me at all. Today I am back with a bang and can still hope to win a medal for my country” says the state level boxer Savan Singh Rodh.
Conducting free check-ups in rural areas through his self run organization Charak, Dr Nitish Mandal is a doctor on a mission to change the healthcare system in India. Born to parents who were Bangladeshi refugees, the dream of becoming a doctor was farfetched for him. Practicing in the Maldives as a successful doctor, his chance visit to India’s rural areas moved him totally and decided to come back and serve the people here.
“My childhood was full of struggles and I never thought I would ever come back to India again. My visit to India left me shocked and concerned. Whenever I came across a person in pain, he had only one thing to say that the doctor had suggested a surgery as the pain reliever. Since I was a pain management specialist, I know that many of the ailments don’t actually require a surgery at all. Many a times women complain of migraine and their doctors would prescribe some pain killers that would just give them only a temporary relief but the problem of migraine would continue for the next twenty years. That’s because in most cases there is a wrong diagnosis done. So I came back to India to spread awareness and cure people. As it is the elderly who suffered more pain than anyone else, I began targeting the Old Age homes to cure the elderly. I even began visiting cancer patients who were going through severe pain to give them some relief from their agony. Moreover, I have realized that healthcare accessibility and affordability are two major challenges in India and the future lies in innovative ways of delivery. One of the biggest barriers in India for realising the national agenda of “healthcare for all” is tackling the existent disorganised and expensive system of healthcare.” says Dr Nitish
According to Dr Nitish, most of the people are recommended surgery when in reality many of them can be treated non-surgically itself. Through the scientific approach of pain management a patient goes through accurate diagnosis with examination, test and diagnostic blocks. Then the patient is administered powerful medicines, targeted injections, regenerative therapies are recommended and goes through radio frequency treatment. The entire treatment has a holistic approach as it culminates with rehabilitation by exercises and vitamin supplementation.
With only few likeminded people joining him as volunteers, the doctor targets the Old age homes where the elderly are vulnerable and helpless. Treating old people who are abandoned after their children have migrated to different countries in a small village near Bhiwani, ‘Doctor Sahab’ as he is popularly called, comes as a blessing in disguise for the people in pain.
“My father-in-law has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis with severe pain in his limbs and he is totally bedridden for the last few years. I have also severe neck pain that I cannot do much for him. Since both my sons have moved away to Canada, I do not have money to take him to city to cure him. Doctor Sahab’s free check-ups and treatment has relieved us of the pain and made us capable of taking care of ourselves now”, says Ramodevi of village Madina in Rohtak
Very soon many of the celebrities and sports personalities began approaching Dr Nitish for their treatment. From cinestars to models to sportsmen, Dr Nitish has become a doctor who can cure pain without surgery. But the doctor’s main concern is to create awareness among the abandoned and reach out to as many suffering in pain who cannot afford. When asked how he manages without a hospital or a team to support him, he says,
“I have seen that every person from a milk man to a politician carries a mobile phone. So in order to maintain health related goals, I can make use of mobile phones where health parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, calories consumed can be tracked. Wherever I go, I try to create awareness by telling the people in the rural areas that your phone can be of great help as there are 400 medical apps that are available in our country. I am also making them aware of online consultations.”
Targeting the youth in the villages during his visits, Dr Nitish doesn’t simply believe in only curing his patients but he goes a step ahead and educates them on the newly launched Lybrate, an online doctor booking and directory service with a pool of 50,000 doctors from the allopathic and indigenous systems of medicine. He feels that online consultations can transform the people’s accessibility to doctors in the remote villages. Gradually many self help groups have begun approaching him and have volunteered to spread awareness on e-health in villages.
On being asked what does he achieve by this when his fellow doctors are all making good fortune away from their motherland, he says, “It’s a sense of fulfilment to enable a patient to lead a normal life. Once I treated a grandfather who because of chronic back pain had not played with his grandson for six years. The excruciating pain made him immobile and confined to bed. But today he is leading a normal life and is able to play with his grandson. This is just a beginning. I want to create a platform through which rural people without access to doctors and medical facilities can avail of healthcare. I strongly believe that technology can go a long way in bridging the gap between the rural people and the doctors. Staying in Bengaluru, today I am able to connect with my patients who are in pain in remotest villages through various applications like video calling, email, smart phones and other wireless tools. Ultimately, it is their smiles on their face that gives me contentment rather than a fat bank balance”.