Ponnani is celebrating E.K. Sulfath, a 24-year-old woman from the fisherman community who will be taking the Hippocratic Oath in a few months. By being the first doctor from the fishermen community in Ponnani, Sulfath has become an inspiration not only for this historic coastal town, but also for the marginalised people living along the coast of Kerala.
Sulfath has passed MBBS exams with 71 per cent marks from Travancore Medical College, Kollam, and is about to start her internship there. She had got distinction in the first three years of her degree, but the last year’s confusions deprived her of the honour.
She studied at that private medical college with government fees, thanks to an intervention made by the government, especially by the then Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan, who had been MLA of Ponnani.
The fishermen community belonging to the other backward classes (OBC) category is indebted to her. And Dr. Sulfath is indebted to the current State government for waiving the heavy annual fees. It was her case in 2017 that made the State government take the decision that students of fishermen community can study in private colleges with government fees.
Just like the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribes department bearing the fees of SC/ST students, the Fisheries department is paying the fees of all fishermen students, thanks to Dr. Sulfath.
“I want to serve the poor and the marginalised by joining the government service,” Dr. Sulfath said, making clear her objectives. She has set her eyes on postgraduation in general medicine and specialization in cardiology later. “If God wills, I want to pursue cardiology and serve the community,” she told The Hindu.
Her younger brother Shuhaib is working as a mobile phone technician and her younger sister Noorul Fida is awaiting her NEET results. “She wants to become a doctor. She is inspired by Sulfath,” said their mother Laila.
Their father Abdul Latheef goes fishing whenever he can. Their house near Government Taluk Hospital at Ponnani has been joyful with people from different walks of life dropping in with congratulatory messages ever since Sulfath’s results were announced on Monday.