Dr Tobias Vogt
India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and the second-most populous country. However, despite rapid development achieved in other fields, the performance when judged on healthcare parameters remains poor. Government hospitals are constantly struggling with a massive congregation of patients. The private healthcare industry is mainly urban-based, specialty driven, and services offered by them are expensive. Therefore urban poor, slum dwellers, and rural people depend on charitable clinics and hospitals.
German Doctors, a non-governmental organization, or NGO, has offered free medical treatment to underprivileged people in Kolkata and its suburbs since 1983. The German Doctors has cooperated with the native aid organization Howrah South Point (HSP), specializing in working with disabled children from the slums from the very beginning. The German Doctors comprise the general medical department under the auspice of the HSP. The mobile dispensary program by Howrah South Point started in 1998 to reach the poorest of the poor in remote rural areas around Calcutta. The dispensaries provide essential health services such as doctor
check-ups, diagnostic, providing medicines, hospitalization, home visit, guidance about family planning and advocacy.
Tobias Vogt, 52, came to Kolkata 20 years ago as a doctor through the German Doctors’ aid organization and stayed here. He treats tuberculosis patients in a hospital in Kolkata and drives to the slums every day. In the morning, Onboard in an ambulance and his Indian colleagues from Howrah South Point travel to the clinics, most of them very far. He and his team serve around 80-110 patients a day, even during Pandemic times. As a long-term doctor, Tobias also receives the very complicated and tedious patients from all outpatient departments. Dressed in PPE, Dr Tobias checks patients constantly from the beginning of the operating clinic. Unfortunately, someday the clinics face frequent power cuts. After the clinics, Dr Vogt goes back to a hospital which is for tuberculosis patients. He lives on top of the hospital, and as a resident doctor, he takes care of 30-40 TB patients every day. Unfortunately, during the Covid
period, seven colleagues of Dr Tobias became infected with the virus, two of whom were seriously ill. For weeks they fought with Covid. Fortunately, they all survived. But the team did not stop. Apart from medical support during the lockdown, Tobias and his team distributed around 2700 food packets to the needy. Away from the limelight, Dr Tobias is relentlessly working to keep society’s poorest safe. Here are the moments I photographed of his mundane work schedule.