Many dread at the prospect of getting medical aid because of how expensive it is these days. We hear news of private hospitals turning into money-minting machines. It makes us question, has everything in the world become about making money, even at the cost of other people’s well-being? If so, how will BPL (below poverty line) families survive?
Thankfully, the world has doctors like Dr Annappa N Bali. Living in the town of Bailhongal in Belagavi district, Karnataka, Dr Bali provides medical aid to the economically weaker sections of the society, charging just Rs. 10. For many of his patients, his services are even for free!
According to a report by The New Indian Express, the 79-year-old doctor is popularly known as ‘hatta rupayi doctor’ (Rs. 10 doctor). He treats nearly 75-150 patients per day on an average, a majority of them from very poor households. Hence, nearly 50% of them are charged no money.
He only treats patients free of cost when he sees they are in desperate need of medical aid but are financially incapable to do so. For others, he never charges more than Rs. 10, which also includes medicines and injections! His chamber is open from 10 am to 1.30 pm then again from 4 pm to 7.30 pm. However, the patients stand in line from 9 am!
The reason behind Dr Bali’s generosity is because he claims to have had a very financially weak childhood. He recalls how his family was under severe financial stress when he was a child and hence, he was able to get his education by studying at a free boarding school.
“Later, I was helped by some people and was able to complete my MBBS at KMC, Hubballi. Then, I got a diploma in ENT in Mysuru in 1978,” he said.
In 1967, Dr Bali worked as a health officer from the government’s health department. By the time he retired in 1998, he was the district surgeon. It was in those years that he saw “better days”.
“I know what bitter poverty is like – I have tasted it too. I have no reason to chase money now. I just want peace of mind, which I get by treating poor patients,” Dr Bali said.
He added, “I am giving back to the poor, what God had given me in my needy days. And I will continue my services till I can.”
His cost-effective treatment makes his patients come back to him. Some are even of the opinion that his treatment works like magic!
One of his patients said, “It seems as if Dr Bali does magic due to which patients get cured fast. He talks softly to us, and his treatment is like magic potion – he is like no other doctor in the taluk.”
Dr Bali has emerged as a role model for many. In a world where people only care about their own comfort, we hope he inspires many to do their little bit to give back to society!