The Listeners

ABHAY AND RANI BANG

Like many great medical breakthroughs, Drs. Abhay and Rani Bang's discovery of how to reduce child deaths in the developing world as much as 75% came from a deceptively simple premise. "We decided to listen to our patients," says Abhay. That may sound obvious, but in 1986, when the pair returned to their poor, central Indian hometown of Gadchiroli with master's degrees in public health from Johns Hopkins University, it was a novel approach.

Then, explains Abhay, 55, priorities for the developing world were decreed in abstract by the medical establishment. "For example, everyone said population control was the No. 1...

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