Renowned health activist Dr Abhay and Rani Bhang conferred with Padma Shri

On Thursday, The Ministry of Home Affairs released names of some eminent personalities who will receive the 2018 Padma Awards on January 26. The prestigious awards, which include Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, are announced annually on the eve of the Republic Day


  • The Centre on Thursday announced the list of this year’s Padma awardees.
  • These awards are given in various fields such as literature and education, art, sports, social work, medicine, science and engineering, civil service, public affairs, trade and industry.
  • Maharashtra’s Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bhang, Late Sampat Ramteke, Lakshmikutty, Dr MR Rajagopal, Dr Sunita Solomon, Yeshi Monk, Sulagatti Narasamma, are few of the awardees.

Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Abhay Bhang said, “I am very happy. My wife and me, raised health and social queries. Maharashtra government gave us a lot of love and support. Even the Indian government appreciated us. For the first time in history, a couple is receiving an award. Rani and I have equally contributed. On a priority basis, the government should pay attention in the tribal areas from the health point of view. The government has honored the health related questions raised by us.”

The awardees:

Dr Abhay and Rani Bhang

Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bhang:

  • Doctors who were over 30 years transformed healthcare in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.
  • Established Shodh Gram, a model Gond tribal village in Gadchiroli with tribal friendly amenities like hospitals, canteen, temple, training centre, pharmacy etc.
  • Devoted life to working in remote, poor, tribal, Naxal-hit region – despite graduating from John Hopkins Institute of Public health.
Late Sampat Ramteke
Late Sampat Ramteke

Late Sampat Ramteke, who is a pioneer of sickle cell disease advocacy, was also conferred with Padma Shri posthumously. It was Ramteke’s efforts that led to policy changes like inclusion of sickle cell in the list of disabilities in Rights of Persons with Disability Act (2016), travel concessions etc.  The former president of sickle cell society of India began the crusade to spread awareness on sickle cell anaemia after he lost his son to the disorder. He died on November 2017.


Grandmother of Jungle’ Lakshmikutty:

  • Lakshmikutty, a 75-year-old tribal woman is a poet, poison healer and teacher at Kerala Folklore Academy.
  • With medicinal herbs and plants surrounding her small hut, hundreds trek to the forests to visit Lakshmikutty, who offers herbal treatment for poisoning.
  • Lakshmikutty also gives lectures on natural medicine at various institutions across the southern states.
MR Rajagopal
MR Rajagopal

 ‘Father of palliative care in India’ Dr MR Rajagopal: 

  • Pallitive carew is pain rwelief care and medicine given to people suffering from life-limiting or terminal illness.
  • Specialising in pain-free neo-natal surgeries- brought down post-surgical neo-natal death from 75% to 28% in 1980s.
  • Introduced safe anaesthesiology procedures.

Dr Sunita Solomon, who detected the first cases of AIDS in India in 1986, was also awarded Padma Shri posthumously.  Dr Solomon, a microbiologist at the Madras Medical College, passed away in July 28, 2015.

Yeshi Dhoden, famously known as monk physician, is the founder of Men-Tsee-Khang, Tibetan Medical College, Dharmashala and has been working in remote areas of Himachal Pradesh. Yeshi, who was conferred with Padma Shri 2018, is known for curing cancer with herbs.

Sulagatti Narasamma (97) from Karnataka, was awarded Padma Shri in medicine segment. Sulgatti is a midwife and in over 70 years, has performed more than 15000 traditional deliveries free of charge. She was given honorary doctorate by Tumkur University.