A doctor from Bengaluru has bagged the Global Asian of the Year 2018-19 award. United Arab Emirates’ Trade Promotion Director Mohammed Naser Hamdam Al Zaabi presented Dr. Hema Divakar with the award for her work in women’s healthcare in India.
Dr. Divakar won the award in the ‘In Service of the Society and the Nation’ category.
Asia One, the publication that organised the event, said the award is given to an individual with the most innovative vision and action plan for global change and progress, according to News18.
On receiving the award, Dr. Divakar said, “To be recognised with other achievers of Asia thrusts on me a greater responsibility and ownership to reform the women’s healthcare ecosystem in an innovative and impactful manner.”
Who is Dr. Hema Divakar?
Dr. Hema Divakar has had an illustrious career as one of India’s premier gynaecologists. She heads Divakar’s Speciality Hospital in Bengaluru as well as the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India. She also advises India’s Institute of Public Health and IIM Bangalore.
Dr. Divakar has several academic achievements to her name: a masters in alternative medicine, an MD from Wadia Maternity Hospital in Mumbai, a postgraduate diploma in medical law and ethics, a diploma from All India Institute of Management, and a PG diploma in preventive and promotive health care.
She also specialises in high-risk pregnancies and has set up clinics that deal with miscarriages, foetal medicine, and diabetic obstetrics. Besides this, she manages the Divakar’s Services Trust that supports women and children in rural India.
She has contributed to publications and textbooks, and conducts educational workshops all over the country.
Indians gaining worldwide recognition
Dr. Divakar becomes one in a series of Indians making waves on the international stage.
Most recently, The Kings won World of Dance, an American reality dance TV show. The all-male hip hop dance crew hails from Nalasopara, Mumbai, and beat out other dance companies, a duo and a soloist for the title and $1 million cash.
On Instagram, The Kings said, “10 years of struggle, hard work, pain, sleepless nights, fear, sacrifices has been paid off finally!… Who knew that a group from India would reach the finals and emerge with the title of WORLD CHAMPIONS. But, we did it and converted our dream into reality with hard work and determination.”
Also, in entertainment, Guneet Monga’s production house, Sikhya Entertainment, scored an Oscar for Best Documentary (Short Subject) for its work on Period. End of Sentence, a film on breaking the taboo around menstruation in India.
Priyanka Chopra, India’s Bollywood sweetheart, also went on to dominate international cinema and television with Quantico and Baywatch before her high-profile wedding to Nick Jonas. She is currently working on a project with Mindy Kaling.
Recent medical breakthroughs
Dr. Divakar’s work is one of few that has received worldwide recognition and praise.
Another woman, Dr. Almas Ahmed, made headlines earlier this month for developing acid-proof make-up that can protect acid attack victims from disfiguration. She is a UK-based doctor who feels passionate about helping acid attack survivors after her father worried about her safety in London.
Dr. Ahmed’s formula is vegan and waterproof and has a high boiling point of 400 degrees that acts as a barrier between the wearer’s skin and corrosive acid. Her formula can even be added to existing makeup without altering their pigments.
She is in the process of developing a specialised make-up line with her acid-proof formula that will launch in India by 2020.
In March, a second person was found to be in long-term remission after intensive HIV treatment. This case comes over a decade after Timothy Ray Brown, the “Berlin patient”, became HIV-free after stem cell transplants.
Through risky bone-marrow transplants, doctors for the “London patient”, who prefers to be anonymous, successfully replicated the treatment Brown received. The second HIV patient has been living free from the virus for 16 months and has even tested negative for it without any medication.
Why Dr. Hema Divakar’s achievement is significant
Dr. Divakar’s accomplishments may have earned international recognition, but these have also been deeply appreciated and much needed in India itself.
Indian women and children don’t have easy and affordable access to quality healthcare, especially in rural areas. But Dr. Divakar’s efforts are changing the face of the country’s healthcare sector.
Her specialty services give voice to a number of lesser known issues that women deal with; these health problems also go beyond basic pre- and post-natal care.
Dr. Divakar’s focus on unique problems, like pregnancy loss, plug a vacuum in women’s healthcare.
Her award is more than as a personal achievement—it puts the spotlight on the amount of work yet to be done for women in India.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius.