Thane: Even the tragic deaths of 18 patients – 10 of them from outside Thane city and 4 from Kalyan-Dombivli – in less than 24 hours at Kalwa hospital highlights the problem. The problem is the lack of good public health infrastructure in Thane district, a small suburban village that stands out for its remarkable track record.
Of the 30 families living in the village of Gharivali on the outskirts of Kalyan-Dombivli, 20 now have qualified doctors in the family and another 5 aspire to become doctors who are expected will complete an MBBS degree in the next few years. This feat earned the village the title Doctorancha Gaav (doctor village).
Medical infrastructure in the Kalyan-Dombivli suburb is limited and for any emergency, residents must travel at least 5 kilometers to the nearest private hospital near Dombivli station. Even today, primary care centers are few and far between and those there are not well equipped.
Gharivali’s success story began in 2000 when Sanjay Patil reached the milestone of becoming the first MBBS degree holder in the village. His achievements have inspired other young people to pursue this profession. Dr. Patil studied at the Zilla Parishad School, and completed her studies on a scholarship. Interestingly, nearly all of the doctors in the village attended local schools and then went on to further their education elsewhere.
Recalling the fate that brought him to the medical profession, Dr Patil, 48, said: “When I was young, I imagined that if someone was in pain, they would go to a doctor and the doctor would solve it. all his problems, he was almost like a god. How beautiful is this profession? You can earn money, respect and blessings at the same time.”
After completing his HSC, Dr. Patil lost his father and his brother helped him achieve his dream. “There was very little help in the 90s because there was hardly anyone to guide me,” he said. “I am happy that I can now guide young people from my village on their journey. In my own family and extended family, there are five doctors,” he added proudly.
One of those who were inspired to take medicine by Dr. Patil was Manoj Patil, who earned a Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) degree. “We are all inspired by Dr. Sanjay Patil. Our village has faced many ups and downs over the years. My father’s generation worked in a nearby factory and suddenly one day that factory closed, plunging the village into darkness. How to survive is a big question for us. Some started driving trailers, others started as workers and some worked in brick kilns. Inspired by Dr. Patil, my father wanted me to become a doctor. Our village today is called a doctor’s village because all of our parents worked hard to make us doctors,” said Manoj, 38.
The youngest MBBS in the village Aishwarya Patil, 26 years old, now wants to pursue an MD. “My family and other villagers never treated us like many other people treat their girls,” she said. This is one of the best parts of my village – they support the education of boys and girls equally.”
Subhash Patil, 50, a former village chief, is proud of the villagers’ achievements. “Everybody thinks if Sanjay Patil can do it, why can’t everyone else? Come to think of it, other people have completed their medical education as well.” Patil now plans to build a hospital so that doctors in the village can visit and provide free services to the poor.