Four doctors from the US and India received the Prince Mahidol Award 2006 from Thailand's King Bhumibol Aulyadej here for their contribution to medical and public health services.
They received the award Wednesday for their achievements in the discovery, introduction and widespread use of oral re-hydration solution (ORS) or oral re-hydration therapy (ORT).
Stanley G. Schultz from the US University of Texas Medical School at Houston, American doctors David R. Nalin and Richard A. Cash, and Indian doctor Dilip Mahalanabis were presented the award in the field of medicine at the Chakri Throne Hall, the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
The Thai king praised the awardees as "excellent examples of those who truly perform good deeds for the sake of goodness, because such achievements are not meant for any individual but for the benefit of mankind as a whole".
The ORS, consisting of salt, sugar and water, was introduced in 1960s as a simple, low-cost and easily accessible solution to treat dehydration from cholera and diarrhoea.
Since early 1970s, with the widening use of the therapy throughout the world, especially among developing countries, ORS has benefited millions of lives around the world. It is estimated that each year 500 million packs of ORS are used in more than 60 developing countries.
The beauty of ORS is that it is not only cheap, but its ingredients are easy to avail and compose, the awardees agreed.
However, they added that to reduce costs and improve access to drugs and medical technologies, efforts are needed from scientists, private institutions and governments to commit themselves to creating a healthy world.
Sponsored by a Thai royal family foundation, the Prince Mahidol Award is conferred annually to individuals or institutions who make outstanding contributions to the advancement of medical and public health services for humanity all over the world.