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OBITUARY
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 81  

Passing away of a hero: Dr. Ramaswami Ganapati


Professor Emeritus, Department of Dermatology, University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, Brook House, Brook Street, Great Bedwin, Wilts SN8 3OZ, United Kingdom

Date of Web Publication3-Mar-2012

Correspondence Address:
Terence J Ryan
Professor Emeritus, Department of Dermatology, University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, Brook House, Brook Street, Great Bedwin, Wilts SN8 3OZ
United Kingdom
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How to cite this article:
Ryan TJ. Passing away of a hero: Dr. Ramaswami Ganapati. Indian Dermatol Online J 2012;3:81

How to cite this URL:
Ryan TJ. Passing away of a hero: Dr. Ramaswami Ganapati. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Nov 21];3:81. Available from: http://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2012/3/1/81/93480




Ramaswami Ganapati, Director Emeritus of the Bombay Leprosy Project, became a familiar face and his voice a frequent sound after we first met and mostly sat together in 1997 in the meeting of the WHO 7th Expert Committee on Leprosy. That year he helped me with a Task force for Skin Care for all: Community Dermatology by providing a contribution to a CD on capacity to benefit. I was seeking to publish significant models of achievement in skin care. Could there be a better one than that which he directed in Bombay?

He was, as many are declaring, a gentle but determined man working for those poor who are disabled by leprosy. He was not listened to enough. The 7th WHO expert Committee reviewed the way forward with the prescription of Multi Drug Therapy for leprosy. We thought we were determining a research program or at the least guidelines with a choice of the manner of prescription, and were a little anxious when they became rules for the elimination of leprosy. Ganapati was critical of the claims for elimination. His views were always wise and based on experience but even when listened to, the gems he uttered were not, by any estimate, 100% acted upon by all who had heard them The Bombay Leprosy Project was a wonderful model well described in "A Glance at Leprosy (1991-2001)" one of its publications. Dr. H. R. Jerajani, in a Forward, praised the concept of "Catch them Young" but expressed her regret at poor participation of medical students and their teachers. Indeed such a wise man so prolific in his advocacy for better practice should have been heard more widely and become a model of globalization. He was a local phenomenon and a local leader too much ignored even in his own country. It is not too late to act on his exhortations since his advice is well illustrated and simple to put into effect. Ganapati wrote "Community-based Comprehensive Leprosy Work" Chapter 41 in The Indian Association of Leprologists' Text Book of Leprosy 2010. In this he writes about the concept of community and describes community-based rehabilitation as Utopian, but goes on to write "We can confidently say that even in the current scenario, achieving the objective stated above is possible to a great extent, if one is determined and makes persistent efforts to overcome the hurdles in the realization of the goal." He pins some hopes on the category of Accredited Social Health Activists. Writing as I am, in the context of his sudden death, I am touched by his concluding paragraphs in this chapter which he named Epilogue. They are headed by a quote from the poet Robert Frost....... 'And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.' He suggests the Bombay Leprosy Project as a preliminary step and with this we all agree. Yes! It may be miles to go, but this first step is a giant one built by himself and he could not wish for a more persuasive launch for taking all his admirers on a rather long journey at the end of which completion will be his memorial.




 

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