February 17, 2007

Calcutta based Doctor felicitated for developing ORS

Dilip Mahalanabis, a city-based doctor and researcher, was presented the Prince Mahidol Award, 2006, for his contribution to the world of medicine and public health.

Mahalanabis, director of Society for Applied Studies, was the first Indian to receive the award from King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand on January 31, for his extensive research to develop Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT).

Along with Mahalanabis, Stanley G. Schultz, of the University of Texas Medical School, Richard A. Cash of Harvard School of Public Health and David R. Nalin of Merck & Co. were also awarded for their contributions.

Mahalanabis started his research in ORT — the use of water, salt and sugar for treating dehydration in diarrhoea patients — in 1966 as a research investigator for Johns Hopkins University International Center for Medical Research and Training.

During the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, Mahalanabis instructed his staff to distribute ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) among cholera patients in the refugee camps.

“During the war, there was a cholera outbreak among the refugees. Under those circumstances, we were forced to use ORS in the refugee camps, as the intravenous fluid had to be kept for the critical patients or for those who were under shock,” said Mahalanabis.

Mahalanabis also used ORT in Thailand in 1978. The large-scale use of ORT gained recognition from various international health organisations and has been currently in use by around 130 countries worldwide.

The Prince Mahidol Foundation was established in commemoration of the birth centenary of Prince Mahidol of Songkla in 1992. The award is given to individuals or institutions for their contributions to the advancement of medicare and public health services.

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