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Abhay Bang and Rani Bang

Abhay Bang and Rani Bang are Indian social activists and researchers working in the field of community health in the Gadchiroli district ofMaharashtra, India. They have revolutionized healthcare for the poorest people in India and have overseen a programme that has substantially reduced infant mortality rates in one of the most poverty-stricken areas in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF have endorsed their approach to treating newborn babies and the programme is currently being rolled out across India and in parts of Africa. The Bangs founded the 'Society For Education, Action and Research in Community Health' (SEARCH) – a non-profit organisation, which is involved in rural health service and research. The couple is the winner of the Maharashtra Bhushan Award. Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow has conferred honorary doctorates on Abhay and Rani Bang. SNDT Women's University, Mumbai has also awarded Honoris Causa to Rani Bang. The Lancet has honoured the couple as 'the pioneers of health care in rural India'. Abhay and Rani Bang are the first recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They were also inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. The Bangs are honoured for their leadership in community-based health care that is now helping to save the lives of millions of the most vulnerable newborns and children. During their careers, the Bangs have helped foster a renaissance in community-based primary health care. In 2016, Johns Hopkins University conferred the Distinguished Alumni Award upon them Abhay Bang was born at Wardha, Maharashtra, India in 1950 to Thakurdas Bang and Suman Bang. His parents were followers of the Sarvodaya movement which was inspired by Gandhian thoughts. His father, a young economist, went toMahatma Gandhi to seek his blessings when he was about to go to the United States for his doctoral studies. Gandhi looked at him for few seconds, then said, "Young man, if you want to study economics, go to the villages of India" Thakurdas cancelled his planned voyage, and remained in India to study the economics of Indian villages. Abhay spent his childhood in Gandhi's Sevagram Ashram at Wardha with Mahatma Gandhi's foremost disciple Acharya Vinoba Bhave. Until ninth standard, he studied in a school which followed the tenets of Nai Taleem (a method of practical hands-on Education).


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