Dr Ravindra Kolhe, MD, has always considered Gandhiji’s work the influence of his life and the decision to work in rural India. Even after completing his MBBS from Nagpur University, he chose to do a thesis on comparative study around slums of Vidarbha, where at Melghat he observed an infant mortality rate of 200 per 1,000. “The reason was poverty. Everyday, I used to see kids dying of starvation,” he said.
By charging just Rs 2 for medical consultation for the last 30 yrs, he has made a huge contribution in bringing down the mortality rate down to 60 per 1,000. “Charity has been my basic idea, even before taking the decision to come down to Melghat, but I never believed in doing it for free. The problem was, the people out there were suffering through severe health conditions and had nothing to pay me.”
Kolhe soon realized that tribal development was needed more than just medical assistance. Since last 24 years, he has also extended his work to areas like farms, power generation and labour wages. Apart from consultation, the husband and wife team have also been active in creating awareness about women’s health and education at Bairagarh in Dharni taluka.