Context: Recently, Dr. Dilip Mahalanabis, who was an Indian paediatrician known for pioneering the use of oral rehydration therapy to treat diarrheal diseases, passed away.
About Dr. Dilip Mahalanabis:
- Born on November 12, 1934 in West Bengal, he studied in Kolkata and London and later joined the Johns Hopkins University International Centre for Medical Research and Training in Kolkata in the 1960s, where he carried out research in oral rehydration therapy.
- When the 1971 war broke out, millions of people from then East Pakistan took refuge in India.
- Clean drinking water and sanitation were problems at these refugee camps, and cholera and diarrhoea broke out among people anyway exhausted and dehydrated.
- Dr Mahalanabis and his team were working in one such camp at Bongaon.
- In the mid-1980s and early 1990s, he was a medical officer in the Diarrheal Disease Control Programme of the WHO.
- Later in the 1990s, he served as the Director of Clinical Research at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR,B), Bangladesh.
- In 1994, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
- In 2002, Dr. Mahalanabis was awarded the first Pollin Prize in Paediatric Research for their contributions to the discovery and implementation of oral rehydration therapy.
- In 2006, he was awarded the Prince Mahidol Prize, for his role in the development and application of oral rehydration therapy
Oral Rehydration Therapy:
- It is an alternative to intravenous rehydration therapy for preventing and treating dehydration from diarrhoea when intravenous therapy is not available or feasible.
- Oral rehydration therapy is calculated by the World Health Organization to have saved the lives of over 60 million persons.
Source: Indian Express