Dr. B. C. Das Gupta, former’ Director of Health Services and Secretary, Medical and Public Health Department, Government’ of West Bengal and a veteran Public Health expert of India died at his Calcutta residence on Tuesday the 4th January 1966 after a brief illness. He was 73 and is survived by his widow. By his death India has lost one of the most experienced health workers and illustrious sons whose contributions to the improvement of health services in India and. towards world health are outstanding. The life sketch given below will amply show his many-sided activities and complete dedication to public health work.
He belonged to the first batch of medical men who pioneered public health work in his country inspite of the great attraction for the highly lucrative general clinic practice.
Dr. Das Gupta was born in a rural town of Patuakhali in the district of Barisal, East Bengal in 1892 and was educated in the local high school. He studied Intermediate with science in the Bangabashi College, Calcutta and obtained his B.Sc. from the Dacca College. He entered the Calcutta Medical College in 1913, secured two scholarships in his college career and graduated from there in 1919 with distinction. He then served in the Far East region as a Medical officer in the commissioned rank of the Indian Medical Service during the First World War. On release from war service, he went abroad for higher studies in U.K. and obtained M.R.C.P., L.M., from Dublin and D.P.H. and D.T.M.& H., Lo.9don.’ After his return from abroad in 1924 he joined the public health service of the Government of Ceylon and served there in various capacities till 1941 and rose to the position of Assistant Director. In the initial period of his services he set up health organization in an unworked province as a special work and was awarded the Rockefeller Fellowship of New York between 1928 and 1929. After his return he organised Kalutara Health Unit in 1929, the first of its kind in the region of Asia and also established public health nursing training there which became the international training centre for. officers from China, India and Burma. At the end of 1941 he accepted the post of Chief Health Officer, Bombay Corporation. After serving – for nearly 7 years there his services were requisitioned by the Government of lndia
Immediately after independence to take up the work 01 Deputy Director General After serving the Central Government for over a year he returned to his old post of Chief Health Officer, Bombay Corporation in 1949 and by the end of the same year joined the West Bengal Government as the Director of Health Service and retired from this service in 1966.
During the tenure of his services in Bombay and Calcutta he served in many committees. To mention a few, he was a member of the Bhore Committee -and Chairman of the Environment-al Hygiene Committee’ set up by the Central Government. He attended’ several meetings at Geneva as a member of the WHO Expert Committee on Public Health Administration. He also visited Canada and Geneva as a Public Health Expert from India. He was ‘1llso the 1:hairifia’fi or the Indian Red Cross Society, West Bengal and’ St. John Ambulance Brigade. After retirement from the West Bengal Service he served two terms’ of 4 months each as WHO Visiting Professor to Bangkok. He was as much interested in public health education in this country as public health service. He conducted the D.P.H. and Sanitary Inspector’s course in Bombay and was also a guest lecturer ‘of the All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health, Calcutta.. He was a member of the Indian Medical Council and was called in by different universities to conduct both Doctorate and MBBS examinations. He carried out an important piece of research on maternity and ‘child welfare at Bombay on behalf of the Indian Council’ of Medical ‘Research: This report is available as an -ICMR publication.
He was the founder President’ of the Indian Public Health Association and was the first editor of the Indian Journal of Public Health and served in that capacity from ‘1957 till the end of his life.