By Aparajita Ghosh, TwoCircles.net
Mumbai: As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the country and access to healthcare became a challenge, a Muslim doctor Dr Syed Moinuddin Shabbir in Bangalore has been providing free medication at people’s doorsteps.
“I visited a house and saw a family surviving on biscuits and water for a week,” Dr Syed Moinuddin Shabbir told TwoCircles.net.
Dr Shabbir said that he has been visiting the residents of Bangalore since the very beginning of COVID-19 lockdown in March.
The 46-year-old doctor is Vice Principal at Santosh Group of Institution and works as Lab Head Operations at Santosh Hospital, Bangalore. He had initially started with visiting the residents of Shivajinagar and later extended his services to the residents of Pullikeshinagar and Bharatinagar as well.
“No transportation to hospitals in lockdown has caused a lot of problems and we observed a spike in blood pressure and diabetes, so we decided to supply basic insulin and medicines”, he said.
Dr Shabbir self-funds for the insulin shots needed for diabetic patients and other basic medications that people could not avail due to lockdown. Along with Arun Kumar Bhora, a social activist from Bangalore, he has been working on this initiative to take healthcare to people’s doorsteps.
“The migrants who were stuck in the city were abandoned by their owners and when we reached out to them, we got to know they needed basic essentials too”, said Bhora. “Then we started to help out the migrants as well”.
The duo rides a two-wheeler turned into a mobile ambulance with wireless mic and speaker to spread awareness regarding COVID-19 and its symptoms in the by lanes of the city.
“The lockdown has inspired us to take the step and lend a helping hand to the needy,” he said.
The duo visits the residents daily delivering groceries and essentials funded by Rotary Bangalore Cantonment at doorsteps.
The organisation with the help of local advocates, doctors and other philanthropists of the city has also funded for 10,000 masks and soaps that are delivered into police stations and slums of the area.
Mehboobunissa, 48, is a regular patient of Dr Shabbir and could not visit the hospital due to lockdown. “He visited me whenever I called him and when I was sick, he treated me with free medications every time”, she said. “I could not walk because of the pain in my leg. He helped me walk. He is like a godfather to me,” she added.
As the pandemic was spreading, the number of daily wagers working in the city was observed to be less. The duo decided to visit and got to know that most of them are facing health issues and due to lack of medication they could not resume working.
“I work for 8 hours in the hospital and later resume to keep a check on the patients on the ambulance for another 5 hours and consult online at night to the home quarantined,” he added.
Till date, Dr Shabbir has treated nearly 4,000 patients amid the ongoing lockdown.
The local police have proactively helped them to cover more than one lakh people and aware them of the virus.
“In the lockdown, the transgender community was completely neglected and needed essentials and groceries, so we provided them with necessities for a month”, said Bhora.
The recent communal riot that took place in Bangalore on 11 August has made Dr Shabbir’s task a difficult one. He has been visiting several police stations for check up in the lockdown but could not reach since the riot took place in the city.
“We get calls for groceries and essentials from the riot-hit areas and we tried to sneak in through our mobile ambulance but we could not reach them because of roadblocks”, said Bhora.
The good Samaritan has delivered ration and essentials to nearly 15,000 needy residents of the city and assures to provide his services to the society until the lockdown uplifts.