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Reddy does it
For a boy without formal primary schooling, having a stone tablet etched with his name as an honorary fellow on the wall of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is quite an achievement. Especially when only two other Indians can boast of the honour. No other Indian cardiologist hobnobs with the global intelligentsia today as much as Prof K Srinath Reddy does. Call him and you'll either find him in Geneva advising the WHO, delivering a lecture at the Harvard School of Public Health (where he is the first Bernard Lown professor of cardiovascular health), checking on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's health (he is head of Dr Singh's medical panel) or advising India on how to make universal healthcare for all Indians a reality (he heads the Planning Commission's panel on universal health for Indians). This former head of cardiology at AIIMS, who was nicknamed 'lekin kintu parantu' in high school by his friends in Hyderabad for his atrocious Hindi, is now working to achieve his dream of universal health coverage for all Indians so that everybody has access to "preventive, promotive, diagnostic, curative and rehabilitative service which are appropriate and affordable. " Personal physician to former prime minister Narasimha Rao from 1991-96 and with over 300 scientific papers in almost all major medical journals of the world to his credit, no other Indian clinician-turnedresearcher can boast of a similar "impact factor. " A die hard fan of Waheeda Rahman, Reddy's favourite pasttime is reading "a good book - anything from Arthur Conan Doyle to Stieg Larsson" or "listening to Hindi movie songs from the '50s. " He can never have enough of Hollywood musicals and can see Casablanca ad nauseum.
"I found it difficult to decide whether to become a cardiologist or an immunologist when young, " says Reddy, who is today known as one of the world's greatest experts on public health. So does this son of the former Union minister and governor of Tripura and West Bengal, K V Raghunatha Reddy, have enough money? "My father's greatest wealth was his books. He told us we should never have too much lest it becomes difficult to move house. I was therefore never too keen on making money as an interventional cardiologist. But I have enough to support my children's education, " says Reddy, who turns 60 this May.
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