27 February 2020
Bhawanipatna: When Dr Abinash Rath was posted at a dilapidated community health centre with no proper housing facility in Thuamularampur five years ago, the townsfolk seemed wary of him. They had seen many doctors come and go over the ages, and nobody believed he would be any different.
But then, a lot changed with time.
Several people across all age came to bid him a farewell yesterday which ended with most of them in tears. Dr Rath prepared to leave the tribal-dominated area since he was transferred to Pipili in Puri.
“It is an extremely sad day for all of us,” said a local youth Kiran Kumar Majhi, who participated in the farewell ceremony. Amidst loud music of dhols and firecrackers, he added, “Several doctors came and went, but the zeal with which Dr Rath worked and the changes that he brought in the medical facilities here have been remarkable. We are indebted to him.”
So, what warranted such an outpouring of affection for Dr Rath? Ask the local residents, and they will relate a story of how the young medical professional almost single-handedly turned their dilapidated community health centre into a fully-functional medical facility.
Another villager Manoranjan Kumbhar said, “We never heard the word ‘no’ from him. Whenever any villager needed his help and no matter how far or how critical the condition, he always came forward with help.” Just as his voice chokes he added that they are not only losing a good doctor but also a brother.
A lab technician of the CHC, Saroj Kumar Mohan said that when Dr Rath came there was no residential quarter for him and that he traversed over 70 kilometres every day. “We have never seen him speaking harshly with anyone. No matter what the medical emergency, Dr Rath was there for us and today is a great loss for us.”
Adding that that the noble doctor was a man of a golden heart and an absolute animal lover, villagers spoke highly of Dr Rath saving snakes and releasing them back into the wild when they were usually killed. He was also known to feed stray dogs in large numbers every single day.
The young doctor was seen to become overwhelmed with the absolute outpouring of love for him. “I have had an unforgettable five years here. I am happy that there has been a considerable increase in healthcare facilities and awareness in these last five years.” He added that he did not expect the villagers to give him such a grand send-off.