Delhi's medicine bank

Delhi's medicine bank

Eight years ago when Omkar Nath Sharma witnessed  two people succumbing to their injuries and several severely injured due to a Delhi Metro under-construction bridge collapse in Laxmi Nagar in East Delhi, he realised the acute shortage of medicines and the expensive treatment. “Though the local hospital administered basic first aid, they informed that they had run out of certain medicines that morning. That was a shocking moment for me and I realised that while there is an acute shortage of medicines on one hand, there might be other people who may have the same medicines in plenty and may be wasting,” says the 79-year-old.

Dressed in loose saffron shirt and trousers with his details mentioned on it, he walks five to seven kilometers each day in neighbourhoods like Uttam Nagar where he now lives to Dwarka and Hauz Khas among others like a “beggar or hawker”.  He distributes and donates the unused medicines collected from several areas in the city to the poor as well as charitable trusts and several hospitals in the city including AIIMS, Lady Hardinge, Ram Manohar Lohia and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital. “In my 27-year-long career as a blood bank technician, I have seen many patients who cannot even afford antibiotics or painkillers. People usually end up throwing unused medicines after the patient recovers. There is no system to prevent this wastage and redistribute these medicines. I’m trying to do my bit,” says Sharma who is popularly called Medicine Baba.

At the end of every collection, Sharma carefully catalogues everything — the name of the drug, the manufacturer, where he collected it and the expiry date. Though it was a “challenge” initially to make people believe him, he mentions that he stayed put because “whoever works for society faces opposition” but the “intention to serve” is most important.

Sharma claims to be collecting medicines worth lakhs every day. He tells Metrolife, “Monthly, I donate four to six lakh worth of medicines and even medical equipments including oxygen machines.” He narrates an incident when a tuberculosis patient was in a critical condition and required immediate treatment. He says, “In 2011, I met this patient in a bus and when he was in a critical condition but didn’t have enough money to afford the medicines required. I borrowed money and got him more than Rs 4,000 worth of medicines. When he survived, that was indeed a happy moment for me.”

Similarly, he points out, “Right now, I have around six cases of kidney transplants which need medicines worth Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,000 each month. I beg everywhere I can because otherwise these patients who have come with hope, won’t survive. I am doing whatever I can manage.”

While his mission is to create awareness and proper channels of distribution to reach people in need, he wants more people to willingly contribute and wants to create a “medicine bank” so that “lives are not lost due to lack of medicines”.

Medicine Baba can be contacted on 09250243298 or

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