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Dilip Mahalanabis, Pioneer of ORS, to Receive Padma Vibhushan

Dilip Mahalanabis is set to receive the Padma Vibhushan (second-highest civilian award) for using ORS to save lives in refugee camps during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

Dilip Mahalanabis, Pioneer of ORS, to Receive Padma Vibhushan

New Delhi: Dilip Mahalanabis, who served in refugee camps during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, will be awarded Padma Vibhushan by the Indian government as per reports. He pioneered the use of ORS and saved lives across the world.

Dr Dilip Mahalanabis, a paediatrician, died on October 16, 2022, in Kolkata at 87. He was working as a Research Investigator on diarrhoeal diseases in Kolkata when the Bangladesh Liberation War erupted in 1971. 

He was sent to refugee camps to treat cholera outbreaks. “Within 48 hours of arriving there, I realized we were losing the battle because there was not enough IV and only two members of my team were trained to give IV fluids”, he said in a 2009 interview as quoted by The Lancet.

In such dire circumstances, he made the decision to allow people to use oral rehydration therapy (ORT) which was a game-changer as the case fatality ratio had dropped from 30% to less than 4% among the patients who received ORT, reported the medical journal.

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