Who is Dr. Dilip Mahalanabis? The late ORS pioneer soon to be conferred with Padma Vibhushan

Dr. Dilip Mahalanabis is credited with pioneering the oral rehydration therapy which has till date helped save millions of lives worldwide.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 10:12 PM IST
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Dilip Mahalanabis | Twitter/@kvijayraghavan

Renowned physician Dr. Dilip Mahalanabis is finally going to get the credit he deserved from the Indian government.

After years of delay, the President has decided to confer the Padma Vibhushan (posthomous) to the ORS developer, who is credited with pioneering the oral rehydration therapy which has till date helped save millions of lives worldwide.

He demonstrated the effectiveness of ORS while serving in refugee camps during 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.

Notably, the Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award conferred by the Indian government after the Bharat Ratna.

But not many in the current generation would know about Dr. Mahalanabis and what he actually did to change the world for the better.

Who is Dr. Dilip Mahalanabis?

He had hit the headlines during the Liberation War in Bangladesh in 1971, when the doctor saved thousands of lives with the oral rehydration solution during an outbreak of cholera, while serving in a refugee camp at Bangaon in West Bengal.

As per the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), oral rehydration theory is estimated to have saved over 60 million lives. The use of ORS has deaths caused by diarrhoea, cholera and dehydration by a whopping 93 per cent.

Mahalanabis was awarded the Pollin Prize in 2002 and Prince Mahidol Award in 2006. He was elected as a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1994.

Mahalanabis completed his degree in MBBS from Calcutta Medical College and Hospital in 1958. Later, he secured his Diploma in Child Health from London.

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