State Leprosy Officer P.K.B. Pattnaik, has been selected for the coveted Damien-Dutton award for the year 2012, in recognition of his work in leprosy eradication.

A select group of activists and medical professionals including Mother Teresa, Baba Amte and Dr. Dharmendra have previously been given the award.

Dr. Pattnaik said: “I am thrilled to get the news. During the past two decades, I have been working in leprosy elimination programme in various capacities. At last my dedicated work has been recognised.

“We have been able to treat 12 lakh leprosy patients, rehabilitate 40,000 patients with leprosy and performed surgical deformity correction on 3,500 patients.

“We were the first State in India to achieve the leprosy elimination goal of the World Health Organisation in 2006. When leprosy elimination programme was launched in Odisha in 1983, the prevalence rate was 130 per 10,000 population, but it has now been brought down to below 1 per 10000 population.”