Padma Shri Dr Gulshan Rai Khatri, a legendary figure on the front lines of India's fight against TB, sadly died earlier this month, aged 76.
Padma Shri Dr Gulshan Rai Khatri, a legendary figure on the front lines of India's fight against TB, sadly died earlier this month, aged 76. He was the national tuberculosis programme (NTP) manager of India when the Directly Observed Short Course (DOTS) strategy was being introduced under the Revised National Tuberculosis (TB) Control Programme. He was also a long-time consultant and friend of The Union.
Dr Khatri’s association with The Union goes back many years. He was the Global Contracts Director of The Union’s ground-breaking FIDELIS project (Fund for Innovative DOTS Expansion through Local Initiatives to Stop TB). He also worked for The Union providing technical assistance and conceiving and developing training courses. In addition, Dr Khatri was an important member of the Tuberculosis Association of India, a long-term organisational member of The Union, where he most recently served on the Executive Committee.
Dr Khatri comes from Dera Ismail Khan, a small district in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, but relocated to Delhi with his family after the partition of India. After graduating in medicine from the Maulana Azad Medical College in the city in 1966, he went on to specialise in community medicine. Having already joined the Government of India, he rose through the ranks to head the NTP. It was during this tenure that he managed one of the world’s largest DOTS TB and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment programmes in history, until his retirement in 2002. Dr Khatri was honoured by the Government of India with the auspicious award of Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2013.
After his retirement Dr Khatri continued relentlessly with the fight to end TB, working with The Union and the World Health Organization in consultancy roles in India and globally. He was President of the Delhi TB Association and worked with the World Lung Foundation as a technical advisor on lung health, achieving the role of President of South Asia.
Having received several other awards of global significance, in 2000 Dr Khatri was the recipient of The Union’s Karel Styblo Public Health Prize, awarded in Florence, Italy, acknowledging work in TB control over a period of 10 years or more. Then, in 2010, he received the prestigious Princess Chichibu Memorial TB Award, presented by the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association (JATA) at the 41st Union World Conference on Lung Health held Berlin, Germany.
The Union, alongside the wider TB and lung health community, express their deepest condolences to Dr Khatri’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed by all.
'An Ode to a leading Healthcare Professional of India - Padma Shri Dr. G.R Khatri' can be viewed on YouTube.
Photograph shows: Dr G R Khatri (right) receiving the Princess Chichibu Memorial TB Award, awarded by JATA at the 41st Union World Conference on Lung Health. Photo credit: The Union