A medical centre in Jangpura Extension is unlike any other in the city. This clinic runs on the energy of a group of senior citizens, all residents of nearby localities, having found a vocation in free service, post-retirement. Shree Sanatan Dharam Medical Centre (SSDMC) is built in a complex that also houses a Shiv mandir and a Sai mandir. People from low-income groups, who are unable to afford medical treatment at private clinics, find refuge here at nominal costs.
The clinic works with a team of 35 doctors and a dozen elderly volunteers, who work in shifts to divide the workload. All volunteers and some doctors work for free. Others charge a fee, which, however, is far lower than the market standards.
Since the clinic is a non-profit undertaking it charges patients very less. There is an initial fee of Rs 60 for a card, which allows the patient one consultation and free medicine from the dispensary for a week.
BR Sharma, 77, is the oldest volunteer at the clinic and has been working here for the past 25 years. “This is not just a clinic, but a place of worship where service to fellow men is the ideal. That is the spirit with which we work,” said Sharma who is also a resident of Jangpura Extension.
The clinic was started in 1975. At that time it only offered homeopathic treatment. Allopathic treatment was initiated in 1992. Since then the clinic has seen dynamic technological enhancement and today boasts of digital X-ray, ultrasound, colour Doppler, cardiac echo tests, a computerised pathological lab and a modern dental centre which can match up to the best dental facilities available around the city. A lift at the clinic is currently under construction which will provide patients great assistance once completed.
Patients come here from far off places. A few of them come from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. “I came to Delhi from Hapur for the treatment of my daughter. The private hospital asked us to get a few tests done. I could not afford those costly tests, thus, I came to this medical centre on the re-commendation of my relatives,” said a visitor.
Dr Umesh Kakkad, who heads the clinic, said, “I am satisfied with my work here, there is nowhere else I would like to be. This is where I spend most of my time and find all of it worthwhile.” Kakkad said he follows two principles while running the clinic — no commercialisation and no compromise on quality. “Every little detail is taken care of and everyone who comes here is attended to,” he said.
Rajiv Bisht, one of the patients said, “I trust the doctors here.” It is hard to not take the claim seriously when one experiences the calm and homeliness that the place offers.
Anuradha Chugh is an ophthalmologist who has been working at the clinic since 1992 without any monetary returns. She believes that it is the faith among the patients which makes the place special for her.
“I have a patient who I know is quite well off. He brings many poor people from the streets for treatment and also gets himself treated here,” she said.
Chugh said there are patients who come all the way from Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida. She said they could go anywhere as there are many better and modern clinics in the city. But the patients’ faith in both God and the doctors at the clinic brings them here.