Swiss tribute Homage to the father of street medicine

Preger on his rounds in the streets of Kolkata

Preger on his rounds in the streets of Kolkata

(Benoit Lange)

A pioneer of street medicine, Jack Preger has directly or indirectly improved the lives of half a million Indians living on the margins of society. Swiss filmmaker Benoit Lange has captured the life of the publicity-shy Englishman on screen. 

The 51-year-old Swiss photographer was one of Preger’s first disciples. Lange is the founder of Calcutta Espoir, a charity based out of Aigle in western Switzerland that supports Preger’s street medicine activities in India to the tune of CHF300,000 a year.  

According to Lange, street medicine is not a completely new discipline but derives from old-fashioned family medicine when the doctor used to visit the sick in their homes. 

“You can only truly understand the sick when you see how they eat and live,” he says. 

As a tribute to Preger, Lange made a film called “Dr. Jack” that was released in cinema theatres in October 2016. The film is narrated in a combination of French and English.

“Many people on the street believe it is their destiny or karma and assume they don’t have the right to be cured,” says Lange. “Preger wants everyone to have the same right to be cured of illness.”