While many people who become doctors prefer working in the city and in big hospitals to earn money, Dr. Rajendra Chavan and his wife Vaishali Chavan have dedicated their lives to helping the needy and tribals staying in Palghar district near Mumbai.
Dr. Chavan has been organising blood donation camps, tuberculosis detection camps and other medical programmes by visiting the villages and tribal hamlets in Palghar district. On the other hand, his wife, who is a wildlife lover, rescues snakes in her spare time, and also creates awareness on venomous and non-venomous snakes in tribal areas, and how to avoid snake-bite incidents.
Dr. Rajendra Chavan
In 1990, Dr. Chavan, who is a gynecologist by profession with the state-run JJ Hospital, had gone on a visit to the tribal hamlets in Palghar district. After looking at the acute shortage of medical facilities in this rural belt, he decided to quit his job and, in 1992, settled in Palghar, along with his wife, and started providing basic medical facilities to the needy.
But, the task wasn’t easy. Due to lack of education, there were lots of misbeliefs in the minds of the tribals. However, they did not give up.
“My mother was not educated, and she always wanted me to become a doctor and help the society. So, from childhood itself, I started taking efforts and finally became a doctor. I wanted to help people in the rural areas, and so I started working in Palghar district by setting up a clinic and then a hospital,” said Dr. Chavan.
Dr. Chavan has been felicitated by the government multiple times for his efforts. Dr. Chavan has also been working on the subject of maternal and child health, and is also a government laparoscopy surgeon.
For more than 24 years now, the husband-wife duo has been doing social work in Palghar. “My husband always believed that we as humans should try and give back to society. So, we choose to settle in Palghar, and help the people with whatever little we could,” said Vaishali.
She went on to add, “Till date, we have has organised 800 blood camps, and have collected 40,000 blood bags individually from rural areas. In order to save lives, we even started the ‘Maharashtra Blood Bank’, which has provided blood to more than 10,000 needy patients.”
On her passion for wildlife, Vaishali added, “Snakes have always fascinated me but these beautiful creatures are widely misunderstood and there is a general tenancy to kill them as a safety measure in rural areas as well as in city. So, I stated rescuing snakes and creating awareness among people.”