Lives of the fellows

Nowshir Kaikobad Jungalwalla

b.1 December 1912 d.8 May 1995
OBE(1946) MB BS Rangoon(1936) MRCP(1937) MPH Johns Hopkins(1948) FRCP(1977)

Nowshir Kaikobad Jungalwalla had a distinguished professional career in the Indian Medical Service and later with the World Health Organization. He was educated at Rangoon University, Burma, then a part of India, and was an outstanding student, an able sportsman and took part in college functions, playing western music on the violin.

He joined the Indian Medical Service in 1938. During the Second World War he was a recognized specialist in venereal disease and medicine and commanded treatment centres in the Middle East and India. At the end of the war he went on to study in the United States at Johns Hopkins University, where he was awarded a fellowship to study for his masters in public health.

His subsequent career was divided between two stints at the World Health Organization and work for the Indian public health service. He joined WHO for the first time in 1950, first as a consultant in venereal disease in the newly developed South East Asia Regional Office. He then served as the first WHO representative in Indonesia in the difficult and exciting days of early Indonesian independence.

He returned to Indian public service in 1955 and in 1957 was appointed director of the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Calcutta, where he did pioneering work. He revived the Chetla Primary Health Programme and got the kindergarten schools restarted. The Institute was reaffiliated to Calcutta University and joint programmes were started. Remote villages in the Serampur area had clean water and sanitation installed. In 1967 he was the founder and first director of the National Institute of Health Education and Family Welfare, later renamed the National Institute of Health and Family Planning. He himself felt this was his most significant contribution, although he was not able to develop the Institute as he left for Geneva shortly after taking over.

He carried out his second period of service at WHO from 1967 to 1974 where he was director of the health unit. Based in Geneva, he gained wide experience of problems in developing countries and worked on programmes in Africa, South America, India and the Middle East. He went on to work as the WHO representative for India in the South East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi.

He will always be remembered as a very affable person, always eager to help. He married Piloo Nanvutty in 1950 and they had one son, Honshang, a consultant psychiatrist in the NHS in England. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his last years, and died in Ealing.

S Padmavati

(Volume X, page 272)

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