Dr. Gargi Goel

This interview was conducted by Ms. Ahaana Mahanti

Dr. Gargi has been working as a primary health physician and consultant at Basic Healthcare Services (BHS) at the Salumber block in Udaipur district of Rajasthan since 2013.

Her typical work day involves traveling to remote villages and treating the poorest of the poor who do not have access to basic healthcare facilities. During her medical education and as a medical practitioner for the last 14 years, nothing has given her more satisfaction than serving the poor like she does in her current role.

“Ever since my teenage years, I have found myself overly concerned about poverty and the lack of healthcare facilities for the economically deprived. The massive socio-economic distance has always bothered me at the back of my head and inspired me to work towards the betterment of this marginalized section of the society.”

Her passion for theatre and creative writing has allowed her to help migrant workers, children women and healthcare workers to bring out their suppressed emotions through counselling and dance movement therapy sessions. She learnt through beautiful experiences that the body is a medium to connect to the mind which has a calming effect. This could be observed when she did therapy sessions with hyperactive children struggling with short attention spans.

The poor state of infrastructure and dearth of good faculty in government medical education institutes can be disappointing for young aspiring medical professionals. Students today undergo medical education as an academic experience whereas the need is to shift that focus to experiential learning. This can be achieved by undertaking small projects in rural India that focus on providing care to those in desperate need. This will be an eye opener and a great learning experience for young doctors.

“I have been lucky to have had immense support from my father since childhood. I was a curious kid and my father would always answer my questions with scientific explanations. He would take me to science museums and planetariums and encouraged my curiosity to explore, observe, and treasure the beauty of science. I have never wanted to be known as a girl or a boy but rather a good human being in service to those who need it. Fortunately, I was not subject to the many stereotypes and prejudices our society holds against women. But I am aware that women in this field are constantly subjected to these stereotypical judgements about why they should not perform surgeries or work night duties, and so on. This mindset needs to change as women are very capable health workers and great at multitasking with a natural trait for nurturing and caring for others.”

Her message to young aspiring girls entering the medical field is to devote at least 5-10 years of their initial career to primary healthcare. This will help them learn about several geographical, cultural, and socio-economic factors that affect the overall health of a person, and this is not really taught in tertiary hospitals. This perspective will give them a holistic understanding of health and help them work with the needy and the underserved sections of our society.

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