Mumbai: US epidemiologist Dr Anthony Fauci, Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja, DGP Sanjay Pandey and other prominent global personalities have been named as recipients of the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for 2020.
The awards, instituted since 2005 and the only one recognised by the Missionaries of Charity, Kolkata, have been given to a select few globally renowned personalities for their incredible contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic this year, with the theme ‘Celebrating Compassion in Times of Covid’, said Harmony Foundation Chairman Abraham Mathai.
Dr Fauci, 80, Director of the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and his task force were the first to recognise the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and introduced measures like facemasks, quarantine and social distancing, besides helping the research for the vaccine.
In view of the Covid restrictions, the awards shall be presented at a virtual ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 27.
Fr Fabio Stevenazzi, 48, of Italy, a doctor-turned-priest who returned to the medical profession to serve his country which was among the worst-hit and worked to bring solace to the Covid afflicted.
Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaioli, Italy, who through their company ISSINOVA built prototypes on Isinnova’s 3D printers, to create the parts of the use-and-throw valves for ventilators which were desperately needed in Italy and provided it for free helped many patients survive the terror of this pandemic.
Sanjay Pandey, IPS, Maharashtra DGP-Home Guards, went beyond the call of duty as a police officer to open the first relief camp in Mumbai for migrant workers whose livelihood was disrupted by the lockdown to contain the pandemic.
Chef Vikas Khanna, 49, worked for lonely, underprivileged and marginalised communities in India, and created the FeedIndia Initiative to provide food, slippers, sanitary pads and masks to millions in 135 Indian cities.
Shailaja, 64, Health Minister of Kerala, whose efforts and proactiveness in dealing with the pandemic by following experts and scientific advice helped countless Keralites survive the terrors of this pandemic, and became an example for governments of other states and countries.
Dr Pradeep Kumar of Chennai, who braved life-threatening attacks to give a proper burial to a colleague with two ward boys, carried his body on his shoulders and himself dug the grave.
Previous awardees include Nobel laureates Malala Yousufzai, the Dalai Lama and Kailash Satyarthi, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo, ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad, former Deputy Speaker of the UK’s House of Lords Baroness Caroline Cox, and many other celebrities worldwide.
Mathai said that the awards celebrate and commemorate the memory and legacy of Mother Teresa, canonised as a Saint by Pope Francis in the Vatican.