New Delhi, November 19
The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, 2022, was Sunday awarded jointly to the Indian Medical Association and the Trained Nurses Association of India as representatives of the Covid warriors in the country.
Former Vice President M Hamid Ansari presented the award to Sharad Kumar Agarwal, the president of the Indian Medical Association, and Roy K George, the president of the Trained Nurses Association of India.
Addressing the award ceremony, the Chairperson of Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, Sonia Gandhi, said the award was for every doctor, nurse, paramedic and worker for their selfless service, unflinching dedication and perseverance in the face of adversity.
She said the award instituted in the name of Indira Gandhi, one of the most remarkable leaders of the 20th century, aims at honouring women, men and institutions that have done exemplary work in the service of humanity and the planet Earth.
“The prize endeavours to promote the causes that Indiraji herself championed and worked for in her astonishing career.
“The life of Indira Gandhi will stand out for her tremendous ability to fight against the odds. Be it her political career where she challenged orthodoxy to introduce equity-oriented, pro-poor policies; her fight to defeat hunger in the international environment that disliked self-respecting sovereign states; her extraordinary work to quell divisive tendencies in India; and her unparalleled role in the creation of a new nation to honour people’s aspirations, she was a valiant crusader of people’s causes,” Sonia Gandhi said.
The former Congress chief said that Indira Gandhi’s stewardship of India also saw the enactment and implementation of the National Health Policy, 1983, which laid the foundations for a more comprehensive and accessible health system.
“It brought together promotive, preventive and curative health services and a vital expansion of rural health outreach,” she said.
Referring to the COVID pandemic, Sonia Gandhi said, “It was the most devastating event that we have witnessed this century.”
Lauding the role of doctors, paramedics and others, she said, “They battled a disease of which nothing was known, a virus that respected no boundaries, that afflicted both patient and doctor, that harmed the sick and the nurse, the paramedic and even those that guarded, supplied and managed our hospitals.”
Yet, this community of people... rose to show the true essence of human resolve, tenacity, resilience and compassion, Sonia Gandhi noted.
Recalling the sacrifice of the medical community, she pointed out that “at enormous cost to themselves and their families, the medical fraternity worked unprecedented hours with little thought to their own welfare.”
“Exhausted, they fought the unknown enemy, for their fellow human beings, in a spirit of humanity rarely witnessed... These Covid warriors were all that really stood between this virus and the people,” she remarked.
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