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Obituary: Tribute to Dr. R. Ganapati - Mahaguru of Leprosy Workers
V V Dongre
Hon. Secretary, The Society for Eradication of Leprosy, Mumbai; President, National Leprosy Organization, Sr. Consultant, LEAP, ALERT-INDIA, Mumbai; Founder Member, Bombay Leprosy Project, Mumbai; ALERT - INDIA Central Registry Reporting Centre and EMU Unit, C/o Acworth Municipal Hospital for Leprosy, Wadala, Mumbai - 400031
|How to cite this article:
Dongre V V. Obituary: Tribute to Dr. R. Ganapati - Mahaguru of Leprosy Workers. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2012;78:233-234
Dr. R. Ganapati breathed his last on November 13, 2011, while undertaking anti-leprosy work till the very end. He began his career at Acworth Leprosy Hospital, Wadala, Mumbai, on October 1, 1963, as Assistant Medical Officer, and within one year he had become a Research Officer. He faced unfavourable circumstances while undertaking novel concepts of leprosy control, which he successfully put into practice, with the help of some likeminded colleagues who formed a ′ginger′ group of leprosy workers in that hospital. He pioneered the work of active school surveys and slum surveys in Mumbai city.
In order to widen his scope of work, he founded the Bombay Leprosy Project (BLP) in September 1976 with the help of the ginger group. He demonstrated effectively the importance of field work in leprosy control. He toiled hard to reach the root causes of leprosy in the urban situation.
The Government of India (GOI) took cognizance of his gigantic work and bestowed upon him the coveted title of ′Padmashree′ in January 1983. Thereafter, he was showered with awards for his yeoman′s services to leprosy patients. He was a scientist with a keen interest in research and went on to publish more than 100 research papers on different aspects of leprosy in the medical and scientific journals of the world. He understood the pulse of the leprosy problem and created a well-trained team of workers to manage it. He is the doyen of the history of leprosy control in Greater Mumbai city.
He participated actively in the genesis of organizations such as The Society for the Eradication of Leprosy (SEL), the Acworth Leprosy Hospital Society for Research, Rehabilitation and Education in Leprosy (ALHRRE), Bombay Leprosy Project (BLP), Maharashtra Branch (MB) of Indian Association of Leprologists (IAL-MB), and rejuvenated organizations such as Maharashtra Branch of Hind Kushta Nivaran Sangh (HKNS-MB), and Indian Association of Leprologists (IAL) through close associations with the executives of these organizations, and has played a samaritan′s role of achieving the aims and objectives of these organizations.
Welfare of patients and their rehabilitation was the ultimate motive of this stalwart. People remember his role in evoking interest in leprosy management among skin specialists across the country. GOI sought his assistance for assessing the anti-leprosy work in the country including the functioning of training centers for leprosy. As his name is, he was considered the God of knowledge of leprosy. Patients all over the country knew him because wherever he visited for conferences, workshops, he made it a point to create a rapport with local leprosy patients in their colonies. A resurgence has been observed in the leprosy problem, but, unfortunately, Dr R Ganapati will not come back.
He was concerned about the leprosy problem and wanted to draw the attention of the authorities concerned with the subject of care after cure of leprosy patients with deformities and disabilities for a worthwhile Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR).
His soul will be at rest and in eternal peace, only when, leprosy workers toil hard to achieve his dream for a ′World Without Leprosy".