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Padma Bhushan Award To Dr.S.P. Agarwal

Dr. S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, Indian Red Cross Society since 2005 has been conferred Padma Bhushan award which is one of the country's highest civilian awards and is given for distinguished service of high order. These awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.

'The call from the Home Ministry on Monday morning made all our (Indian Red Cross Society's) humanitarian work worthwhile,' said Dr. Agarwal, a neurosurgeon, who as India's longest serving Director General of Health Services, managed health outbreaks such as pneumonic plague and Severe Respiratory Stress Syndrome. He further adds, "The award is for reaching out for those who need help the most."

Dr. Agarwal is a former Vice President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and had looked after the work of Secretary General, IRCS earlier also in 1999-2000.

Dr. Agarwal had been the Director General of Health Services, Government of India for nearly 9 years. A neurosurgeon by training with education and specialization in India and U.S. his first big assignment was to head the prestigious 1000 bedded Central Government RML Hospital in New Delhii.

A prolific writer, he has authored many books, edited many and has contributed research papers and articles that have been published in word’s leading medical and science journals.

He has been on the Governance & Management Board of many Medical, Educational and other organizations such as AIIMS, PGI Chandigarh, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), GGSIP University, Bureau of India Standards, Co-chair Global Alliance on HIV etc.

He is remembered for his astute leadership during 1999 super cyclone in Orissa, 2001 Gujarat Earthquake, SARS control, communal violence in Gujarat 2001, Tsunami 2004, to name a few.

During the last five years he embarked upon a number of projects to address the needs of vulnerable population. The threat of Avian Flu loomed large over the country. He responded to it by developing information packages and organizing volunteer groups to work at the community level.

He followed this up by making IRCS the first National Society in the region to have an exclusive national water & sanitation response team. A modern state of art Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) with GIS facility has also been set up. Replenishment of DP stocks, training of disaster response teams at National and State level, Disaster Risk Reduction initiatives, renovation of the National Headquarters warehouses (6) became his other priorities under Disaster Management. Later he set up emergency operations centre at DM program states and started video conferencing facility with key branches and warehouses.

He took up initiatives to strengthen health sector by making the National Headquarters Blood Bank a model Blood Bank and initiating programs in H1N1, H2P, Polio and Malaria to benefit affected population.

His biggest contribution has been the enhancement of the resources of the Society by taking up several measures. As a result, the NHQ has disbursed substantial development grant to the branches. This has been unprecedented….never ever happened before.

His interest in academics resulted in the introduction of 1 year P.G. Diploma course in Disaster Preparedness & Rehabilitation and recently a certificate course in Health Promotion through Ayurveda & Yoga.

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