While senior policemen get as much credit for good crime-solving as they get flak for shoddy sleuthing, constables often fall in the city’s blind spot, remaining the unsung heroes of the police force, even as they endure long hours, erratic timings and sleep deprivation.
A constable undergoing a test
Finally, however, a city doctor has decided to give them the attention that they deserve and desperately need in the form of free executive health check-ups that they can ill-afford without financial support.
Dr Sanjay Kapote
In the past fortnight, 55 police constables from the south zone have been undergoing a battery of crucial medical tests at the Apollo Clinic, Colaba, thanks to the generosity of its director, Dr Sanjay Kapote.
Kapote is no stranger to the stress and turmoil of constable’s life. When he was a first-year medical student, his father, who worked as a policeman, succumbed to a heart attack, leaving the aspiring doctor with a penetrating awareness of the impact that the hectic lives of policemen has on their health.
“I have been conducting free health camps for police constables since 1996, but I felt that they were not enough, since only routine blood tests are conducted, and there is no follow-up,” said Dr Kapote.
“My father, an assistant sub-inspector, passed away due to a heart attack in 1976, as he never had the time to address his health problems. While IPS officers get regular health check-ups in Bombay Hospital for free, there is
no such programme for constables,” he added.
As part of this three-month initiative, nine constables show up for health check-ups every day, and undergo a slew of about 50 medical tests — for blood sugar levels, kidney and liver function tests, ECG, stress test, cancer tests and body fat analysis, among others.
The health check-ups are open to the 1,000 constables from the south zone who are above the age of 45 years. They will also have access to free consultations for the next year, and their spouses will also get concessions.
“Five of the constables tested positive in the stress tests. This is an unusually high rate, as only about three of every 300 individuals test positive, statistically,” said Dr Kapote.
While each test usually costs Rs 13,000, the price has been slashed to Rs 6,500 for each constable. Dr Kapote is paying half the amount, while a corporate firm is footing the other half of the bill. “If I get enough funds, we will start this same scheme for constables from the central zone as well.
Abhay Bongirwar of IDBI Capital Services provides half of the required funds. The initiative has been a success thanks to the support of Additional Commissioner of Police Krishna Prakash,” added Dr Kapote.