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Table of Contents    
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 595-596

Dr. Satya Paul Agarwal

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Neurosciences Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication3-May-2016

Correspondence Address:
Guru Dutta Satyarthee
Department of Neurosurgery, Neurosciences Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 27147193

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How to cite this article:
Satyarthee GD, Agrawal T. Dr. Satya Paul Agarwal. Neurol India 2016;64:595-6

How to cite this URL:
Satyarthee GD, Agrawal T. Dr. Satya Paul Agarwal. Neurol India [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Aug 16];64:595-6. Available from: https://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2016/64/3/595/181557

Dr. Satya Paul Agarwal, MS, MCh, DSc (Honoris Causa) (October 21, 1945–November 17, 2015) was a renowned Indian neurosurgeon, academician, public health administrator, and social worker. He was born at Nakodar, Punjab. In 1950, he along with his family moved to Delhi.

He completed his secondary school education at DAV School, Chitra Gupta Road, New Delhi. He completed his MBBS course from Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, and subsequently pursued his Master of General Surgery postgraduate degree course from the Delhi University. He received his MCh in neurosurgical super-specialization from the Department of Neurosurgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. In 2007, the Punjab University awarded him the prestigious DSc degree.

He was considered as one of the pioneer neurosurgeons of modern India as he took an active interest in setting up and establishing a new Neurosurgery Department at some of the busiest hospitals of Delhi, first at Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, and subsequently also at Willingdon Hospital, New Delhi (which at present is also known as Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital).

In the second phase of his personal career, he took up the role as a hospital administrator and patient care supervisor. He became the medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in 1992 and continued to serve in that capacity until 1996. Subsequently, he was given the immense responsibility by the Indian government of being the Director General of Health Services in 1996. He had one of the longest ever tenures and continued on this post until the year 2005. Dr. Satya Paul Agrawal received the innovation award by the National Research Development Corporation for developing “modified trephines” in the year 1987; and, for devising “multipurpose self-retaining new brain retractors” in the year 1992. Further, he was also awarded the gold medal for developing the “modified trephines” at the International Exhibition of Inventions, West Germany in 1987.

Dr. Satya Paul Agrawal was awarded the Dr. B. C. Roy National Award in the year 2002 for being an eminent medical person, the life-time achievement award for tuberculosis (TB) control in 2005, and the Henry Dunant Medal by the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement. In 2014, he was awarded the Belgian Red Cross Flanders gold medal by the Belgian Red Cross Flanders organisation. The Government of India conferred on him the Padma Bhushan, the third highest national civilian award in India, for his exemplary public services.

In the third phase of his glittering medical career, he took up the leadership position in International Humanitarianism as Secretary General of the Indian Red Cross, a position on which he served until his untimely demise in November 2015. His tenure saw an unprecedented rise in the stature and impact of the Indian Red Cross Society. For his outstanding work with this organization, he received the Henry Durant Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

He was actively engaged in the governance of health sciences and served on the management boards of many medical educational institutions and other allied organizations such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh; the National Disaster Management Authority, Delhi; and, the Bureau of India Standards. He was the co-chair of the Global Alliance on Human Immunodeficiency Virus. His academic interests led to the initiation of a 1-year postgraduate diploma course in disaster preparedness and rehabilitation, and also a certificate course in health promotion by Ayurveda and Indian Yoga practice organisations.

As a public health administrator, he played a pivotal role in the execution of various disaster relief operations and control of disease epidemics. He is remembered for his astute leadership during the 1999 super-cyclone in Orissa, 2001, the massive earthquake in Gujarat in 2001, the control of the communal violence in Gujarat in 2001, and the tsunami in the year 2004, while he was serving as the Director General of Health Services, Government of India. He was also credited with the successful control of outbreaks of plague in 2002 and severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003.

Dr. Agarwal was the president of “Tuberculosis Association of India (TAI),” a non-governmental organization with a pan-India presence. He was at the forefront of Tuberculosis (TB) Control Programme in India. The Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), which is based on the principle of Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS), was launched in 1997 under his leadership. RNTCP has achieved an almost 55-fold increase in the DOTS coverage across India since 1998. Currently, more than 1 billion Indian population is covered under the programme. Compared to the previous programmes conducted for the same purpose, in National TB Control Programme, initiated in 1962, the treatment-success rate almost tripled from 25% to 86%. Similarly, death rates due to TB were substantially reduced almost 7-folds, from 29% to 4%. The diagnostic facilities were established in more than 11,000 laboratories throughout the country, and over 4.2 lakh health functionaries were also trained on the RNTCP modules.

As a prolific writer, he authored and edited many books and contributed research papers that were published in world's leading medical and science journals. He actively took part in the control of cancer, and helped in publishing and contributed chapters in the visionary book on cancer control programme of the Indian government, entitled, “Fifty years of Cancer Control in India.”

Overall, Dr. Agarwal was a committed family man and was a devoted son, brother, husband, and father. He dedicated his life in helping out medical professionals in India and never disappointed any doctor who sought any kind of personal or professional help from him during distress.


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