This story reaffirms faith in humanity. He left his motherland to make it big in the US and then, used all the savings to build back the health infra for tribals in Ahwa, Gujarat. Dr Ashok Patel’s life was cut short by covid last year but not before setting aside a Rs 15 crore corpus as a hospital-building fund in Ahwa.
The Boston-based Gujju doctor will always be remembered for his service to the state. Having visited the state multiple times in the last six years, he always brought along a delegation of doctors and specialists from the US. The health camps assumed an institutional status and thousands of tribals have been beneficiaries of his medical largess.
The trips started in 2013 and rural folk of the Dang district speak about waiting for months for Dr Patel and his medical entourage to visit again. “He was a Messiah for us. We could never afford the best of doctors and medical advice that Dr Patel brought to Dang, all free of cost,” recall the villagers.
Usually held for seven days from Dec 8 to Dec 16, the camps also roped in junior medical students in the state. In absence of the hospital currently being built, the camps were held at Shilpi Hotel in Saputara. “The hospital has state-of-the-art facilities and that makes it so much easier for us too,” shared a doctor who has been associated with the philanthropic medic.
Finally, this Patel left the world as a covid casualty. But his tireless crusade has rewritten all rules about Patels only caring for Patels.