Balaji Sadasivan

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Dr.
Balaji Sadasivan
A middle-aged Indian man wearing a black suit, white shirt and red tie speaking into a microphone.
At the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 6 June 2010
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
30 May 2006 – 27 September 2010
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Unknown
Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts
In office
12 August 2004 – 31 March 2008
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded by Unknown
Succeeded by Lui Tuck Yew
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Ang Mo Kio GRC
In office
25 October 2001 – 27 September 2010
Personal details
Born 11 July 1955
Singapore
Died 27 September 2010(2010-09-27) (aged 55)
Singapore
Nationality Singaporean
Political party People's Action Party
Spouse(s) Ma Swan Hoo
Alma mater University of Singapore
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Henry Ford Hospital/Harvard University
University of London
Profession Neurosurgeon
Committees Member, Committee of Selection (10th Parliament)
Religion None

Dr. Balaji Sadasivan (/ˈbɑːlə sɑːdəˈsvən/ ; 11 July 1955 – 27 September 2010) was a Singaporean politician and neurosurgeon of Indian ancestry. He attended Raffles Institution, Siglap Secondary School and National Junior College, and studied medicine at the University of Singapore. After graduating in 1979, he continued his education at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (F.R.C.S.) in 1984. He also trained at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, from 1985 to 1989, and became a Fellow of Harvard University in 1990. He worked as a neurosurgeon until 2001, publishing over 50 book chapters and journal articles.

In 2001 Sadasivan was elected to the Parliament of Singapore for the Cheng SanSeletar division of the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency. From then until his death he served as Minister of State for the Ministry of the Environment (2001–2003), Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport (2001–2004); and subsequently Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Health (2004–2006), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006–2010) and Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (2004–2008). In 2007, he was appointed Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization. In March 2008, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reshuffled his Cabinet, from which time Sadasivan retained only his portfolio at the Foreign Affairs Ministry until his death in 2010.

Sadasivan also served as President of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) and the Singapore Indian Education Trust, Chairman of the Indian Heritage Centre Steering Committee and a member of the National Art Gallery Implementation Steering Committee, Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Policy Committee, a member of the National Steering Committee on Racial and Religious Harmony, an advisor to the Tamil Language Council and the People's Association Indian Activity Executive Committee Co-ordinating Council, a member of the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Union Council of Advisors, and Honorary Advisor to the Singapore Furniture Industries Council. In addition, he was an honorary member of the Singapore Medical Association.

Early years and education[edit]

Balaji Sadasivan was born on 11 July 1955[1] in Singapore, the son of Indian immigrants.[2] A student at Raffles Institution,[3] Siglap Secondary School (1969–1971) and National Junior College (1972–1973), he subsequently studied medicine at the University of Singapore.[1] In his second year, he won an essay competition organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and received the opportunity to attend a healthcare workshop in Minamata, Japan, where he learned about the devastating effects of Minamata disease, a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. This led him to specialise in neurosurgery later on, which was not a popular discipline at the time.[2] In 1979, Sadasivan graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.), and two years later embarked on further studies at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow,[4] becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (F.R.C.S.) in 1984. He trained at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, between 1985 and 1990, obtaining a diploma from the American Board of Neurology Surgery and becoming a fellow at Harvard University in 1990.[3] He also worked at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard, and at the Children's Hospital Boston in Boston, Massachusetts.[5] In 1997, he obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B. (Hons.)) from the University of London.[1]

Career[edit]

Gleneagles Hospital, photographed in July 2006

Sadasivan joined Tan Tock Seng Hospital as a consultant neurosurgeon in 1991, where he reorganised the way stroke patients were treated, arranged for the neurosurgical intensive care unit to be computerised, introduced stereotactic brachytherapy for dealing with brain tumours, and chaired the National Neuroscience Institute's planning committee. In 1994, he moved into private practice at Gleneagles Hospital, establishing the first stereotactic radiosurgical treatment system driven by a linear particle accelerator in Singapore. He also worked with medical device manufacturer Siemens to develop image-guided surgical systems. He published more than 50 scientific papers and chapters in neurology books.[5]

Sadasivan left the medical profession to stand as a People's Action Party (PAP) candidate in the 2001 general election for the Cheng SanSeletar division of the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC). The electoral division, helmed by the Lee Hsien Loong (who became Prime Minister on 12 August 2004), was not contested,[6] and Sadasivan was declared elected to Parliament on 25 October 2001.[1] He was regarded as one of the "Super Seven" Members of Parliament who were made officeholders upon election,[2] and served as Minister of State for the Ministry of the Environment (23 November 2001 – 11 May 2003), Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport (both 23 November 2001 – 11 August 2004). He was Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Health from 12 August 2004 to 29 May 2006,[1] handling matters such as the extension of the Human Organ Transplant Act[7] to Muslims and the 2003–2004 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.[2][8] He also worked to combat the spread of HIV, advocating education about the disease in schools and workplaces, and early and regular HIV testing. He brought in universal antenatal testing for HIV, and spoke out against discrimination on the ground of HIV status.[5][9] For his constituents, he set up the Cheng San–Seletar Neighbourhood Club, and petitioned the Housing and Development Board for the lease of the Seletar Hills market, due to be torn down, to be extended. He also conceived an active ageing centre in Ang Mo Kio Town Garden East, which was slated to open in 2010.[2]

Ang Mo Kio GRC was contested by the Workers' Party of Singapore in the general election of 2006, and Sadasivan retained his seat, the PAP winning with 66.14% of the votes polled in the constituency.[10] Sadasivan acted as Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts from 30 May 2006 to 31 March 2008.[1] In May 2007,[3] he was appointed Chairman of the WHO Executive Board,[2] the first time a Singaporean had been so elected since the nation became a member of WHO. During his term, he dealt with issues such as global health development, pandemic preparedness (including the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic),[11] non-communicable diseases and climate change.[5]

Later years[edit]

Sadasivan was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and underwent surgical removal of a malignant tumour in 2008.[12] He relinquished his Information, Communications and the Arts portfolio with effect from 1 April 2008, remaining as Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[1]

Sadasivan also served as President of the Singapore Indian Development Association (from March 2009)[2][4] and the Singapore Indian Education Trust,[13] Chairman of the Indian Heritage Centre Steering Committee and a member of the National Art Gallery Implementation Steering Committee,[14] Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Policy Committee, a member of the National Steering Committee on Racial and Religious Harmony,[3] an advisor to the Tamil Language Council[15] and the People's Association Indian Activity Executive Committee Co-ordinating Council, a member of the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Union Council of Advisors, and Honorary Advisor to the Singapore Furniture Industries Council.[3] On 8 May 2010, he was made an honorary member of the Singapore Medical Association.[16]

Following a relapse of his cancer,[17] Sadasivan died in Singapore on 27 September 2010 at 1:50 a.m. at the age of 55 years, having suffered internal bleeding the previous night. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Ma Swan Hoo, his son Dharma Yongwen and daughter Anita Jiawen, and five siblings.[18]

On 18 October 2010 during a sitting of Parliament, Abdullah Tarmugi, Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore, and Mah Bow Tan, Leader of the House, paid tribute to Sadasivan in the presence of his widow and children, Mah saying "We have lost a dear friend and colleague and an outstanding Singaporean." Parliament then observed a minute's silence. Sadasivan's medical school classmates set up the Balaji Sadasivan Fund for Medical Undergraduates in his honour.[19]

Selected works[edit]

Book[edit]

Medical articles[edit]

  • Sadasivan, Balaji; Mehta, Bharat; Dujovny, Manuel; Malik, Ghaus M.; Ausman, James I. (August 1989). "Balloon embolization of nontraumatic vertebral arteriovenous fistulae in children". Surgical Neurology 32 (2): 126–130. doi:10.1016/0090-3019(89)90200-0. .
  • Morgan, Jay K.; Sadasivan, Balaji; Ausman, James I.; Mehta, Bharat (January 1990). "Thrombolytic therapy and posterior circulation extracranial-intracranial bypass for acute basilar artery thrombosis: Case report". Surgical Neurology 33 (1): 43–47. doi:10.1016/0090-3019(90)90224-D. .
  • Ausman, James I.; Diaz, Fernando G.; Vacca, Dante F.; Sadasivan, Balaji (April 1990). "Superficial temporal and occipital artery bypass pedicles to superior, anterior inferior, and posterior inferior cerebellar arteries for vertebrobasilar insufficiency". Journal of Neurosurgery 72 (4). doi:10.3171/jns.1990.72.4.0554. .
  • Sadasivan, Balaji; Malik, Ghaus M.; Lee, Chang; Ausman, James I. (May 1990). "Vascular malformations and pregnancy". Surgical Neurology 33 (5): 305–313. doi:10.1016/0090-3019(90)90197-W. .
  • Ausman, James I.; Diaz, Fernando G.; Sadasivan, Balaji; Gonzeles-Portillo Jr., Marco; Malik, Ghaus M. Malik; Deopujari, Chandrashekhar E. (July 1990). "Giant intracranial aneurysm surgery: The role of microvascular reconstruction". Surgical Neurology 34 (1): 8–15. doi:10.1016/0090-3019(90)90166-M. .
  • Sadasivan, Balaji; Ma, Swanhoo; Dujovny, Manuel; Ho, Khang Loon; Ausman, James I. (July 1990). "Use of experimental aneurysms to evaluate wrapping materials". Surgical Neurology 34 (1): 3–7. doi:10.1016/0090-3019(90)90165-L. .
  • Ausman, James I.; Diaz, Fernando G.; Mullan, Sean Mullan; Gehring, Randy; Sadasivan, Balaji; Dujovny, Manuel (September 1990). "Posterior inferior to posterior inferior cerebellar artery anastomosis combined with trapping for vertebral artery aneurysm". Journal of Neurosurgery 73 (3). doi:10.3171/jns.1990.73.3.0462. .
  • Laranjeira, Manuel; Sadasivan, Balaji; Ausman, James I. (October 1990). "Direct surgery for carotid bifurcation artery aneurysms". Surgical Neurology 34 (4): 250–254. doi:10.1016/0090-3019(90)90136-D. .
  • Malik, Ghaus M.; Sadasivan, Balaji; Knighton, Robert S.; Ausman, James I. (1991). "The management of arteriovenous malformations in children". Child's Nervous System 7 (1): 43–47. doi:10.1007/BF00263833. .

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dr Balaji Sadasivan: Curriculum Vitae, Parliament of Singapore, 14 April 2008, archived from the original on 8 May 2008, retrieved 28 September 2010 .
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Li Xueying (28 September 2010), "Winning people over with his big heart: Dr Balaji's thoughts were of his constituents until the very end", The Straits Times: A8 .
  3. ^ a b c d e Biographical summaries: Dr Balaji SADASIVAN, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 2009, archived from the original on 28 September 2010, retrieved 28 September 2010 .
  4. ^ a b Ho Yeen Nie (28 September 2010), "He was one of the 'Super Seven'", Today: 3, archived from the original on 28 September 2010 .
  5. ^ a b c d K. Saktu (May 2010), "Citation for Dr Balaji Sadasivan" (PDF), SMA News 42 (5): 7–8, archived from the original on 30 September 2010 .
  6. ^ 2001 Parliamentary general election results, Elections Department, 7 November 2008, archived from the original on 28 September 2010, retrieved 28 September 2010 .
  7. ^ Human Organ Transplant Act (Cap. 131A, 2005 Rev. Ed.).
  8. ^ Transcript of Dr Balaji Sadasivan's interview with Channel Newsasia – Singapore's seriousness in preventing cross-border transmission of Sars, Ministry of Health, 15 May 2003, archived from the original on 30 September 2010, retrieved 30 September 2010 .
  9. ^ Balaji Sadasivan (8 November 2008), Speech by Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the 6th Singapore AIDS Conference, Health Promotion Board, archived from the original on 30 September 2010, retrieved 30 September 2010 .
  10. ^ 2006 Parliamentary general election results, Elections Department, 7 November 2008, archived from the original on 15 July 2009, retrieved 28 September 2010 .
  11. ^ George Yeo (28 September 2010), "'I had an uneasy feeling earlier this week he might not be well': Letter from George Yeo, Foreign Affairs Minister", Today: 12, archived from the original on 28 September 2010 .
  12. ^ Kor Kian Beng (30 September 2008), "Balaji has op to remove colon tumour", The Straits Times ; Rachel Lin (28 September 2010), "Balaji Sadasivan 1955–2010: 'A sad loss to all'", The Straits Times: A1 & A8 .
  13. ^ "Dr. Balaji Sadasivan [condolence notice from the Singapore Indian Education Trust]", The Straits Times, 28 September 2010: B12 .
  14. ^ "Dr Balaji Sadasivan [condolence notice from the National Heritage Board and National Art Gallery]", The Straits Times, 28 September 2010: B12 .
  15. ^ "Dr. Balaji Sadasivan [condolence notice from the Tamil Language Council]", The Straits Times, 28 September 2010: B14 .
  16. ^ "SMA Annual Dinner 2010" (PDF), SMA News 42 (5), May 2010: 1–4, archived from the original on 30 September 2010 .
  17. ^ Derrick A. Paulo (28 September 2010), "Balaji Sadasivan 1955–2010", Today: 1 & 3, archived from the original on 28 September 2010 .
  18. ^ "Dr Balaji Sadasivan [obituary notice]", The Straits Times, 28 September 2010: B12 .
  19. ^ Rachel Lin (19 October 2010), "House pays tribute to late MP", The Straits Times (Home): B6 ; "House pays tribute to Dr Balaji", Today: 8, archived from the original on 19 October 2010 .

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
Constituency established
Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Ko GRC (Cheng SanSeletar)
2001–2010
Succeeded by
Unknown
Political offices
Preceded by
Unknown
Minister of State for Health
2001–2004
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
Himself (as Minister of State)
Senior Minister of State for Health
2004–2006
Succeeded by
Heng Chee How
Preceded by
Unknown
Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts
2004–2008
Succeeded by
Lui Tuck Yew
Preceded by
Position established
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
2006–2010
Succeeded by
None