Dr Sudarshan

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Dr. Hanumappa Sudarshan Reddy was born on 30 December 1950 in Yemalur on the outskirts of Bangalore.

A personal tragedy in Dr Sudarshan ‘s life lead him to dedicate his life for tribal welfare. Dr. Sudarshan’s father died in a village without any medical help when he was just twelve. This made Dr Sudharshan pursue medicine. He graduated from Bangalore Medical College and became a medical doctor in 1973. Dr. Sudarshan, after graduation, joined the charitable health institutions of Ramakrishna Mission and traveled to several tribal regions of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka.

Dr Sudarshan

Inspirations

All these events and reading the biography of Dr. Albert Schweitzer who worked in Africa, motivated Dr. Sudarshan to take up medical profession and work in tribal areas in India. Dr. Sudarshan derives his philosophy of work from Swami Vivekananda’s teachings which states “they alone live who live for others, rest are more dead than alive”.

Dr Sudarshan starts Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra

He started the Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra for the integrated development of the tribals in the Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. He is also the founder and Honorary Secretary of the Karuna Trust, which is dedicated to rural development in the states of Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh.His foundation has bought huge societal transformation to the tribal areads in BR Hills region. We can see new Hospital, Roads and education environment and above all the earning capacity of the tribal citizens have been increased with the technology resource centre as a base.

Dr Sudarshan’s work

Dr. Sudarshan pays particular attention to the special problems of the tribals such as Snake bite cases, Mauling by bears, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis and Acute Respiratory Infections. The Soliga tribal people suffer from Sickle Cell Anemia and Dr. Sudarshan has developed a low cost electrophoresis machine for diagnosing the disease. He has trained tribal girls as Auxiliary Nurse & Midwife (ANM) and posted them in the Tribal Sub-centers. He has also developed low cost management system for Epilepsy in the Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC). He has introduced Dental Healthcare and Cancer Control in the PHC. He is providing quality healthcare to the people by the introduction of low premium health insurance for all the people living below poverty line. He suggests that medical colleges should teach their students to develop sensitivity to the suffering of the patients. The aim of the medical education should be to facilitate application of medical technology for providing best care to the poor at the most affordable cost. Dr. Sudarshan says ‘the greatest joy, he experienced was when he activating the patients’ whose lungs and heart had stopped. When Dr. Sudarshan sees the smile on the face of poor patients who come to the hospital with blindness (cataract in both eyes) and walk out with full vision after the cataract surgery. Country needs thousands of doctors like great Dr. Venkataswamy and Dr. Sudarshan for providing healthcare to our rural citizens with the heart of “what I can give”. When I see you all friends of medical community, I am sure, you may have great minds, great hearts to remove the pain.

Dr. Sudarshan starts his day at 4.30 am in the morning with Yoga, meditation and prayer with tribal school children. From 9 am to 1pm, he goes around the ward and sees the patients individually. He has lunch with the tribal students between 1 and 2 pm in the afternoon. Later till 7 pm, he is busy in the clinic where he conducts minor surgeries and visits tribal complex. He devotes one hour for study between 9 and 10 pm, so that he gets updated information about medical systems. He spends large part of his time in Clinical Diagnosis, Laboratory diagnosis and treatment, in addition to Supervising, Monitoring, teaching and carrying out research along with his team members.

Awards

1. Right Livelihood Award (1994), for showing how tribal culture can contribute to a process that secures the basic rights and fundamental needs of indigenous people and conserves their environment.
2. Padma Shri Award (2000)
3. Rajyotsava State Award for social work (1984) – Government of Karnataka.

Quotes

“To eliminate disease you have to remove poverty. The only way to do that, I have realised, is to organise the people for their rights.”

“The so-called civilized society has a lot to learn from the tribals.”

“There are no pills for poverty.”

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