Dr Mallikarjuna was a familiar face in many parts of Karnataka, before he went calling on homes in Yeshwantnagar to check if all his patients were well.Despite suffering from cancer, which led to his demise in the earlier part of the year 2010, Dr Mallikarjuna broke new ground in health care in the areas of Yeshwantnagar and Kerala with his perseverant and generous attitude.
From a character actor in Kannada television serials (Kannada being the state language of Karnataka), he started practicing medicine. His first stint was as a government doctor and then a member of the Fomento Health initiative. He identified the main health problem of the district-leprosy and devoted his time treating leprosy patients. According to the present District Health Officer Dr Jayakar, Dr Mallikarjuna treated 4000 leprosy patients in Karnataka and the state of Kerala.
Dr Mallikarjuna seamlessly made the transition from the government to the private sector as he worked for a German Health organization before joining the Fomento Health Initiatives.The organization at the time, were looking for professional senior doctors to carry forward their health care initiatives. A doctor who showed concern for all major and minor ailments from nose bleeds to heart problems, Mallikurjana’s initiative in promoting HIV awareness in the area stood out. He went from door to door handing over leaflets, emphasizing the need for an HIV check up. He also invented ‘street plays’ on HIV. A number of residents turned up to watch the plays held in two places. These included sex workers who lived in the local red light area.
600 homes were touched by this initiative, approximately close one third of the population in Yeshwantnagar. This unique awareness program made a difference. According to feedback, the number of people going to clinics for HIV checks has showed a significant increase of 30%.