Bhubaneswar: Dr PKB Pattnaik, a doctor from Odisha, has become the eighth person from India to be selected for the prestigious Damien-Dutton award for the year 2012.
Dr Pattanaik (51) has been selected in recognition of his more than 25 years of dedication to the victims of leprosy in India and for his direct involvement in making the multi-drug therapy available to the people affected with leprosy in pursuance of his goal to eliminate leprosy in Odisha, official sources said.
"I am happy that the people have recognised my work. We have to work hard to make rest 16 districts leprosy free," Dr Pattnaik told reporters.
Congratulating Dr Pattnaik, state Health Minister Damodar Rout said, "Other doctors working in the field should learn from the dedication of Dr Pattnaik."
Dr Dharmendra was the first man from India to get this award in 1970 followed by Muralidhar D Amte (Baba Amte) in 1983, Mother Teresa (1984), Dr K V Deskan (2000), Eliazar T Rose (2005) and Dr E P Fritschi (2006).
Damien-Dutton Society for Leprosy AID INC was founded by Staff Sgt Howard E Crouch, Medical Corps U S Army in 1944. It presents yearly award to a notable person who has made a significant contribution towards the conquest of Leprosy and has got worldwide recognition
Since 1953, total 60 persons have been awarded with this prestigious award, it said.
Dr Pattanaik, presently working as State Leprosy Officer, Odisha and State Nodal Officer NCD programme at Directorate of Health Services, Bhubaneswar, is also Honorary Secretary, Hind Kustha Nivaran Sangh, Odisha State Branch since 1996.
Under his leadership and with his direct involvement,
Multi Drug Therapy (MDT) programme was extended to all 30 districts and more than than 1.15 million leprosy cases were detected.
Above 1.1 million leprosy cases were cured with MDT and more than 0.95 million leprosy patients were prevented from developing disability, the Society said.
Prevalence rate of leprosy could be brought down drastically from 121.4 per 10000 population in 1985 to only 0.85 per 10,000 population in March, 2011 in the state due to efforts of Pattnaik.
Odisha got distinction for achieving WHO Goal of leprosy elimination on July 31, 2006 as the first state in India amongst high endemic states who were getting World Bank support for the programme.
At least 14 of the state`s 30 districts also achieved the goal of leprosy elimination and it has been planned to achieve elimination of leprosy in remaining districts in the next five years.