Mumbai, Nov 4 (UNI) Internationally renowned cancer surgeon Dr P B Desai was today presented the coveted 36th Dhanvantari Award, considered as the supreme emblem of recognition of his meritorious services and contribution to the profession.
The award was presented by chief guest Union Minister for Power, Sushil Kumar Shinde, at the Taj Mahal Hotel here.
Dr Desai, a poineer in the field of cancer surgery is a former Director of Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. He is the receipient of many awards and prizes, including Padma Bhushan and Dr B C Roy National Award. He was appointed as visiting professor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, in 1983-84 and at the Harvard Medical School in 2003.
Along with his team, he organised the first successful bone marrow transplant in our country and has been instrumental in the establishment of important cancer centres at Miraj-Sangli, Jaipur and rural cancer centre at Barshi in Solapur district.
Speaking on the occasion, Padma Vibhushan and President of the Dhanvantari Foundation Dr B K Goyal said,''Although there are various systems of medicine, the goal of all these systems is to give relief to the suffering humanity. The Foundation's main goal is to achieve emotional integration of all persons practising the art of healing. This only can bring out the best from different systems of medicine.'' While accepting the award Dr Desai said,'' I would like to acknowledge my teacher Mr Mazumdar who is present here and gave me principles and moral values which have stood by me even today.
Awards are like degrees, you get them and you forget them. But an award is also a stimulus indicating that what we are doing is right and are in the right direction. I would like to thank all my doctors, nurses, sisters, ward boys and 'ayahs'. These are the pearls and I was only a string that bound them together. It has to be team work.'' Dr Desai further said, ''The world is waiting with bated breath for the cure of cancer but let me tell you the cure is not on the horizon. In the next 15-20 years cancer will be a chronic disease which can be controlled by 2020.'' According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there are 10-12 million patients of cancer worldwide. Science and politics should move in tandem. As today's research is tomorrow's medicine.'' ''The value of a person should not be judged by the number of awards he wins but by the depth of his convictions and breath of his ideals,'' Dr Desai added.
Speaking on the occasion Mr Shinde said,'' I have been attending the Dhanvantari awards for the past 32 years, but I never heard such a speech of introspection for medical practitioners, politicians and philosophers. Religion is what you feel inside. This is our Indian tradition and values which you take and move forward.'' Early receipients of the award include heart transplant surgeon Dr Christian Barnard, (South Africa), Dr Denton Cooley, (USA), Dr C Gopalan (New Delhi), Dr B N Chakravarti (Kolkatta) and Dr L H Hiranandani (Mumbai).