With the calling to change the world and serve the poor, these doctors below are some of the remarkable figures who have inspired many lives to continue fighting for their future despite all odds.

They have committed most of their times trying to give more to the society and create a deeper meaning of medicine, sometimes sacrificing their personal times and plans beyond their responsibility.

1. Dr Raj Panjabi

Dr Raj Panjabi has been announced as the 2017 prizewinner of the TED annual award last December, being remarked as “an exceptional individual with a creative and bold vision to solve a timely, pressing problem."

Panjabi, a physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has a greater wish than just saving people’s lives. He is giving his USD1 million TED prize away to help community health workers, who are non-medical personnel or college graduates and are usually underappreciated.

While some are paid to do these works, some are volunteers. Panjabi knows the group well as he is the founder of Last Mile Health, which supports 300 community health workers to work with people in rural Liberia. Besides, Panjabi intends to start a Community Health Academy in Liberia, where he lived until he was nine, with his TED money to provide well-trained workers to improve healthcare in remote or underserved places.

Thus, he is working with educational groups and seeking additional funding to use technology to deliver modernised education that can be easily accessed online with smart phones. Though Panjabi was not the first to start this idea, the touching moment of a community health worker’s story has inspired him million-dollar wish to push the dream forward.

2. Dr Bhakti Yadav

Nonagenarian gynaecologist, Dr Bhakti Yadav, the first woman doctor in Indore, India was recently awarded with the Padma Shri award this year.

Yadav, who just turned 91, is recognised for her selfless contribution to medicine by offering free treatment since 1948. After graduating from the medical college, she rejected jobs in the government hospitals and joined Nandlal Bhandari Maternity Home for wives of poor cloth mill workers.

Since then, she led the maternity home for several decades before she started her nursing home. Over the 68 years, Yadav has delivered thousands of babies without charging any fees. Even though she is physically weak now, Yadav is still determined to serve the poor.

3. Dr K Mahadevan

“Many people say god exists. I don't know if god exists, but Mahadevan sir exists like a god for us,” said Supriya (name changed for privacy), a person with HIV and among the thousands of patients whose lives have been touched by Dr K Mahadevan.

Mahadevan from Coimbatorein India has spent his life treating HIV patients but what makes him truly special is that he has been treating thousands of patients every year for free. He is also one of the first doctors to treat and care for HIV- patients in the district.

“If at all they want to give, let them give whatever they want,” said Mahadevan, who does not insist on any fees at all.

In his clinic, there is a box for patients to contribute what they wish as fees. After he spends a portion of the money earned on the clinic’s needs, Mahadevan would donate the remainder to HIV-positive people. A patient said Mahadevan has been planning to buy a house for 25 years but never managed it because he spends almost all the earnings for others.

Mahadevan said he was a professor at the Government Medical College in the Department of Sexually Transmitted Diseases when he first opened his clinic in 1984, at which he charged for a consultation. However, his encounter with an HIV-positive patient brought him to see the difficult plight of people living with HIV.

“From that day onwards we made it free for HIV positive people. Then I thought why it should be free for HIV-positive people alone. So, we thought we need not ask for any fees from the suffering people who come to the clinic,” he explained. MIMS

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