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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 284

Keshav Desiraju 11 May, 1955-05 September, 2021

Department of Physiology, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission27-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance01-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Latika Mohan
Department of Physiology, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_102_21

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How to cite this article:
Mohan L. Keshav Desiraju 11 May, 1955-05 September, 2021. J Med Evid 2021;2:284

How to cite this URL:
Mohan L. Keshav Desiraju 11 May, 1955-05 September, 2021. J Med Evid [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 May 19];2:284. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2021/2/3/284/333948

'A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent'.

Douglas MacArthur

Sri Keshav Desiraju, former Union Health Secretary, passed away of acute coronary syndrome on 05 September, 2021, at Chennai. Grandson of the President of India, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, he was an IAS officer from the Uttarakhand Cadre, 1978 Batch. He had a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge, and in Public Administration from John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Although Sri Desiraju was an economist by training, he was keenly interested in healthcare, and made several significant contributions to healthcare governance, including fostering the development of the new AIIMS, and was the union health secretary in the early days of the founding of AIIMS Rishikesh. He will, however, be best remembered for advancing the Mental Health Bill 2012, which went on to become the Mental Healthcare Act 2017. The legislation is a pathbreaking one which has shown the roadmap to the world in mental health care. He initiated the ban on gutka and chewable forms of tobacco, an act that was later adopted and replicated by many states.He led the establishment of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, an expert group that examined linkages between vaccination and immunization and determined the vaccines to be included in the national health program for administration across India. He was also noted to have strengthened the governance systems in the National Health Mission.

He was a man of simplicity, impeccable honesty, and silent courage. He was deeply committed to restoring equity and social justice and took corruption in the healthcare sector head on. He stood firm on his convictions, fighting against corruption in the corridors of power and was transferred prematurely to another ministry as a consequence. Undeterred, he went on co-author 'Healers or Predators? Healthcare Corruption in India' in 2018. The book has 41 investigative essays by doctors, public health academics, researchers, activists, civil society members, and a journalist.

He was passionately involved with Carnatic music and was an art collector, and an author of several books. His book Of Gifted Voice: The Life and Art of MS Subbulakshmi, on the Carnatic singer by the same name, is a definitive biography.

Sri Desiraju mentored and inspired, with his keen intellect, simple lifestyle and incredible outstanding integrity. His loss is felt by the nation, by the health-care community and many grassroot workers whose lived he touched.

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