SURAT: On receiving the Padma Shri award, the family of Dr Shrinivas Vaishya had just one thing to say - his life's work had finally borne fruit. The special secretary, health, of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli retired after 35 years of government service in 2008 and takes credit for improving the health services in the Union Territory (UT).
Vaishya is first person from the UT to be awarded Padma Shri after independence of Daman & Diu in 1961. Former student of Surat Government Medical College (GMC) Vaishya is awarded for his contribution in field of health and healthcare .
"I was first student of the science college of Daman in 1966 and since then my journey to improve the health infrastructure started. When I started working in the region around four decades ago the health scenario was very poor and now we provide health facility to villagers as well as a large number of industrial labour," said proud Vaishya, who currently heads Indian Medical Association of the UT and vice president of south zone Gujarat IMA.
Vaishya joined MBBS course in Goa Medical College in 1968 and later joined MD in Surat GMC. He did his masters in preventive and social medicine and joined the health department as medical officer in Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. He worked for eradication of leprosy, guinea worm and carried out health activity extensively in rural areas of the UT.
"My team's focus was to bring the health indicators at par with national services and we did it successfully," said Vaishya. When he joined was one primary health centre (PHC), four sub health centres (SHC) and one hospital in the region. Today, there are three PHCs, 30 SHCs and three hospitals catering to the rising numbers of industrial labourers.
Vaishya has two sons and a daughter and all are medical professionals.