The village doctor is generally a quack. He is more expert in killing than in healing. He has not been to any medical school or college nor has he had any practical training under some qualified doctor.
He relies upon traditional methods of treatment which his father and forefathe followed and which they left behind as a legacy. The villagers have implicit faith in him and they entrust themselves to his care and treatment when they fall a victim to some disease. With a thermometer and stethoscope in his pocket, he poses as an up-to-date doctor.
His dispensary is a very simple affair. He keeps a few bottles which contain some common medicines. The bottles are scattered on the floor. They are coated with dust. He never cares to dust them. He sits on a piece of matting or a carpet.
His customers squat in front of him on the bare floor. He feels their pulses, sometimes examines their tongues and sometimes their urine. The poor and illiterate villagers have full faith in the skill of this quack. His word is law for them.
He does not charge heavy fees. He accepts with thanks what the villagers pay him in cash or kind. He visits serious cases several times a day for a single fee. In case of serious accidents, he proves of great help to the villagers.
He can bandage a fracture; he can set a broken limb. He knows how to stop bleeding. He can apply disinfectants to wounds and cuts. He can use the catheter if a patient does not pass urine. Here keeps a few purgatives, patent medicines and sulpha drugs also to give a modern touch to his treatment. He uses both ayurvedic annd allopathic drugs and sometimes Homeopathic medicines too. His patients never find fault with him and hold him in great esteem.
There is a great dearth of qualified doctors in India. In towns, there is no dearth of doctors but in villages, there are no qualified doctors for miles. The dispensaries are also few and far apart. Villagers, in many cases, die for want of a proper medical aid.
More qualified doctors for villages is the crying need of the hour. The village doctor will hold his sway till he is replaced by trained and more qualified doctors. It may take a very long time.