The villages of Koyra upazila (sub district) under the southern district of Khulna look like any other rural area in Bangladesh. But being surrounded by the Sundarbans forest and many rivers and creeks, people have a very different lifestyle here.
Bangladesh is one of the health workforce crisis countries in the world. In the face of an acute shortage of trained professionals, ensuring healthcare for a population of 150 million remains a major challenge for the nation. For people living in the remote areas like Koyra, neighborhood medical facilities provided by the village doctors are very important.
Dr. Hiranmoy Sarkar, aged 65, known to the locals as ‘Hira Doctor’, is one of the most admired village doctors in Koyra region. His family have been serving the people of Mothbari and Maheshwaripur villages with medical treatments for three generations. Dr. Hiranmoy is a devoted follower of the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism.
Hira Doctor begins his day very early in the morning. After necessary preparations he sets out for his patients on foot with two bags full of medical supplies and an umbrella in his hand. In this pursuit he walks about 10 to 15 kilometers every day. Except in cases of emergency, he usually returns home in the afternoon.
There is no hospital in the region. Therefore people depend on the village doctors in case of any sort of health crisis. Among the several local doctors in the region, Dr. Hiranmoy is the most popular among the villagers for his modesty and dedication to the profession of healthcare.
His family consists of 5 members including his wife and 3 children. Besides medical practice, he is a great patron of religious activities.