The Assam Government on Saturday announced the Assam Gaurab (Pride of Assam) award for bone marrow transplant (BMT) specialist Dr Asif Iqbal.
Assam Gaurav is a civilian award recently instituted by the Assam Government to honour those individuals who have made significant contributions to bring about positive changes in the society.
At Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday, "Dr Asif Iqbal has started a new chapter in cancer treatment by successfully doing the first Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) in the Northeast. Dr Iqbal has realized that BMT is very expensive treatment in private hospitals and many cancer patients will not be able in incur such expenditures. He has done a commendable job by joining the BBCI to do BMT on large number of patients for free or in affordable cost.
Dr Asif Iqbal said he felt elated but at the same time he was humbled and motivated to serve more poor cancer patients.
“I never expected an award or recognition. I have studied medicines and become a doctor only to serve patients. Serving patients is my only identity. It gives me immense pleasure whenever I serve and cure poor and those patients who cannot afford healthcare. But I must admit that the Asam Gaurav award has elated me and thank Chief Minister Himtanta Biswa Sarma for the honour. The award will motivate me to serve more and more patients,” Dr Iqbal told Awaz – The Voice.
Awaz-The Voice recently featured Dr Iqbal who is fighting a lone battle to do Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) to cure cancer patients in the Northeast. He is the only super specialist to do BMT in the region. He has left his lucrative job in a leading private hospital in Assam and joined the public-funded Dr B. Barooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) to treat patients who cannot afford such costly transplant at private hospitals.
On Saturday, the Assam government announced the awards for a 19 people for their outstanding contribution to various sectors of the society. The award will be presented in three categories - Assam Vaibhav, Assam Saurabh and Assam Gaurab respectively.
The Assam Vaibhav Award will be presented to internationally renowned industrialist Ratan L Tata. The Assam Saurabh Award will be presented to 5 eminent personalities while the Assam Gaurab Award will be presented to 13 people.
Chief Minister Saarma said, "Those who have had a great impact on the lives of the people of Assam with their work have been nominated for the award. Though arrangements have been made to provide this award every year on the Assam Divas on December 2, this year’s award will be conferred officially on January 24, 2022.”