Ministry of Science & Technology08-March, 2008 16:27 IST
National Award for Women’s Development through Application of Science & Technology conferred on Dr. Rani Bang
Dr. Rani Bang has been awarded with National Award for Women’s Development through Application of Science & Technology in recognition of her outstanding and pioneering contribution for the past two and a half decades on improving women’s health in rural India through an innovative and powerful approach of research with the people and for the people. She has spearheaded the development of a comprehensive village health care program which has now become a nationally and internationally acclaimed model. This innovative approach of empowering rural women to take care of their community’s health has reduced the infant mortality in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra by over seventy five percent.

The award was conferred upon her by the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil at the National Conference on Showcasing Cutting Edge Science & Technology by Women in New Delhi.

Dr. Rani Bang exemplifies an amalgamation of idealism, social service and scientific research. She has made landmark contribution to improving women’s life in India and globally – as a gynecologist, as a research scientist and as a social activist.

Dr. Bang completed her Medical Education (MD) in India with gold medal and at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, (MPH) in the US. Along with her husband, Dr. Abhay Bang, she founded the voluntary organization, SEARCH, (Society for Education, Action and Research in community Health) 22 years ago in one of the most underdeveloped districts, Gadchiroli, in the state of Maharashtra. There they live and work with the people in 150 villages to provide community-based health care and conduct research. They have established the now famous community health care and research center ‘Shodhagram’ in this tribal area. From this remote place, they have evolved a very innovative and powerful approach of ‘Research with the People’ which has generated, time and again, new evidence and solutions to shape national and global thinking.

By conducting the first ever study in two villages in Gadchiroli and publishing in the Lancet, Dr. Rani Bang first brought to the notice of the world that rural women had a large hidden burden of gynecological diseases. She subsequently trained the Dais in villages to make them village level health workers. With convincing evident she advocated the need for a comprehensive reproductive health care package for rural women in India.

Dr. Rani Bang along with her husband and colleagues have developed a model for a village health care program which is now being recognized nationally and internationally. They have demonstrated how the pneumonia in children can be managed in villages, and recently, how neonatal care can be provided at the village level. Their innovative approach of empowering the village women to take care of their community’s health has reduced the infant mortality rate in their work area from 121 to 30, which is the best indicator of their work. This model has been successfully replicated by NGOs and by the Indian Council of Medical Research of the Govt. of India, in 5 states; and recently has been incorporated in the 11th Five Year Plan of India.

She has written two books in Marathi on women’s lives – ‘Goieen’ and ‘Kanosa’. ‘Goieen’ has received the State literary award.

She was a member of the National Commission on Population, Govt. of India, and of several national and international committees.

Dr. Rani Bang and Dr. Abhay Bang were honoured by the Government of Maharashtra with the highest honour of the state – Maharashtra Bhushan. In 2005, the TIME magazine selected and honoured them as the Global Health Heroes. In 2006, their organization, SEARCH received the first MacArthur Foundation International Award. In 2006, she was awarded the prestigious Jamuna Lal Bajaj award for her work for the upliftment of women in India.

PRA/SKK
(Release ID :36126)