July 08, 2011

Top U.K. award for Indian doctors

Two teams of medical professionals from India were awarded top honours at the British Medical Journal Group Awards distributed on Wednesday.

The award for ‘Medical Team in a Crisis Zone' went to ‘Doctors for You' for their flood relief work in Bihar in 2008; and the award for ‘Innovation in Health Care' went to Professor Subhashchandra Daga and his team at the Maharashtra Institute of Medical Education and Research Medical College for their work in neo-natal health.

The ‘Doctors for You' team, about 110-strong, worked over six months, complemented by social workers and other support staff, to mitigate the effects of the disaster caused by the rising flood waters of the Kosi river in Bihar in 2008. Beginning with delivering emergency and resuscitation care, they stayed on to treat 1,30,000 patients in 300 mobile health clinics, district hospitals and relief camps.

Award a boost

Vivek Chhabra, International Coordinator, ‘Doctors for You,' said: “The award will boost membership, community support, and motivation for the team's work and help in raising a Medical Humanitarian Disaster Team for South East Asia.”

Professor Daga and his team had to work around the reality of frequent power cuts and figure out how to keep newborn babies warm. They adapted polystyrene foam boxes that were used to transport vaccines to do the job.

They went on to use the boxes to transport sick babies to hospital. The team found that not only were the boxes easy to use for families, and traditional birth attendants, but also that they were safe and effective.

Low-cost device

“The BMJ Group Award will raise awareness of a simple and a low-cost device, the styrofoam box that keeps babies warm without using electricity. This device holds hope of survival for thousands of low birth weight babies born at home, in harsh weather conditions, and in poor and remote areas of the world,” Professor Daga said.

The BMJ Group Awards, held in association with the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland recognise and celebrate excellence in healthcare across the globe. This year, over 650 entries were received from across the globe for the 13 award categories, according to information posted on the website.

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