Meet Naina Aggarwal who promises to carry her father Dr KK Aggarwal’s legacy forward and continue his good work with HCFI
When Dr KK Aggarwal, cardiologist, physician, and Padma Shri Awardee passed away due to COVID-19 in May this year, thousands mourned his loss. As the founder of the Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), an NGO that provides healthcare and support to the needy, Dr Aggarwal had touched millions of lives during his lifetime.
He was well-known for his videos on COVID-19 and other issues, that a large number of people turned to for the calm, reassuring way in which he assuaged their concerns and provided the right information at the right time.
Dr KK Aggarwal
In one of his last videos, Dr Aggarwal had said, “Picture baaki hai. The show must go on.”
While his death is a huge loss for both the medical fraternity and the general population, his legacy, his message of hope, and his dedication to the cause of healthcare will continue, says Naina Aggarwal, his daughter, in a conversation with HerStory.
“His passing is not just a loss for our family, he has impacted so many people over the years that it’s a loss for the country, every family and house he was giving hope to,” she says.
The show will go on
Naina and the family is focused on keeping his vision alive and keep his NGO HCFI running the way he would have done, with dedication and commitment.
While Naina and her brother grew up with doctor parents, they decided to pursue a career in the communications field. She runs a PR agency while her brother has his own healthcare startup. However, as a trustee of HCFI, Naina has always been involved in her father’s work.
“While in college, I started a youth wing within the NGO and collected around Rs 30,000 to deliver prosthetics to those in need. Growing up, I’d see him on TV always, during a national calamity, there would be reporters at our home, even at 1 am,” she recalls.
She has been involved in the communications side of HCFI for a few years, working on different programmes.
Naina lists out the different activities of HCFI and how it has impacted people.
“We’ve been running a free OPD for anyone in need of COVID-19 consultation. Someone sitting in Jharkhand or Patna could have access to it. His whole philosophy was to eliminate the fear of the pandemic. He also advised on cost-effective treatment methods,” she says.
Good health for all
Dr KK Aggarwal receiving the Padma Shri from then President of India, Pratibha Patil
Dr Aggarwal also trained a number of health educators – people who had recovered from COVID-19 and volunteered to educate others how to take care of themselves and their families, how to use a pulse oximeter, when to see a doctor, what helplines are available and so on.
HCFI also has volunteer doctors for basic consultation online who provide the right advice to those suffering from the disease. The foundation also has 70+ oxygen concentrators that is provided free of cost for those who need them.
The NGO has been providing hands-only CPR training to judges, lawyers, the police, corporate employees and this is a programme it plans to continue.
“Another programme funds heart surgeries for those who cannot afford them. We have tied up with the National Heart Institute and Medanta for this,” she adds.
The Dr KK Aggarwal Research Fund will also focus on research around the pandemic and other pertinent topics. Doctors also contribute articles on a variety of subjects while educational programmes are on in schools, colleges, medical colleges, and nursing colleges.
“HCFI also runs a Perfect Health Mela, which went digital last year – where regular sessions are held with the media, doctors, heartcare families, RWAs, schools and colleges,” she adds.
They have a bank of over 11,500 videos that her mother and the medical team is sifting through and editing according to its relevance in today’s times.
“The purpose is that his voice must continue because it gave hope to a lot of people. His goal was to assure people do not fear the pandemic, the vaccination,” she says.
When Dr Aggarwal passed away, Naina says there was an outpouring of messages from all over the world. His prayer meeting that was restricted to invitation-only went on for 13 hours, with people paying tributes continuously. There were people he had not even met, but who worked for him every day.
“He was that kind of man, the one who made history from a small room in his office, with a few cameras in front of him. He worked even on Sundays so that people had access to quality advice. His legacy is important for us and for the people we will continue to serve,” Naina says.