Life has not been kind to Omkar Nath Sharma. He has a mentally challenged son. He has problem in walking after he met with an accident years back, but that has not deterred him from helping poor people with medicines. With service to mankind in mind, Sharma has now become a Robin Hood like figure who all love.
Struggling to walk but iron willed in heart, Omkar Nath a retired technician now a social worker has never learnt to harp over what he has not got in life. In a world where everyone wants to get the best of everything, he learnt at a point that there was dire need of doing something for society.
The realization dawned on him when he saw a tragic accident occur in front of his eyes. Such was the impact that he set out on Mission Medicine Baba and he has never looked back.
Popular as Medicine Baba he stands out in his bright saffron pyjama-kurta with bold printing announcing his credentials as a ‘Mobile Medicine Bank’. He leaves his home at 6 everyday to reach every door to collect unused medicines so that he can give them to the needy. He asks people to donate unused medicines, which he then distributes to charitable hospitals, NGOS and clinics.
Sharma walks 5-6km every day to collect medicines. With metro fare beyond his reach, his only option to commute, other than walk, is using buses.
Sharma carefully catalogues everything in his diary including name of the drug, expiry date and the home or place from he collected it. And it’s all voluntary work.
Sharma is hopeful his unorthodox service is making a difference, albeit small, in a country where 65% of the population lacks regular access to essential medicines.
At his Delhi home, Medicine Baba painstakingly checks and sorts his collection that includes everything from calcium tablets to antibiotics.
If reports are anything to go by India spends just 1.3% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health, according to a 2013 World Bank report.
More than 60% of the population’s out of pocket expenses for health are for medicines, according to government estimates.
Despite big promises by the government of a universal health care plan, pegged initially at $26 billion which was to be fully operational by 2019, it has been pushed back because of budget constraints.
Medicine Baba is performing a valuable service, say doctors who work at charitable clinics, and his contributions have become a formal part of their clinics’ operations. Those who have personally seen the miracles of Medicine Baba’s help cannot stop praising him.
While we enjoy our lives and just read about the tragedies of not having enough medicines in stock, one man has taken on the task to change things. As a septuagenarian this man truly inspires. Wish him all the best.