July 18, 2013

'Humble' Adelaide GP and Fiji philanthropist, Dr Umanand Prasad, killed in Gepps Cross crash

BY:ANDREW HOUGH From: The Advertiser July 17, 2013 4:15PM

Respected SA doctor killed in crash
Dr Umanand Prasad at the first site visit for the Fijian medical school in 2006. Picture: University Of Fiji Source: Supplied
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A SUCCESSFUL South Australian doctor and leading Fijian philanthropist has been killed in a car accident at one of Adelaide's most notorious intersections, it emerged today.
Dr Umanand Prasad, whose generosity helped fund a Fiji-based medical school, died after his silver Nissan sedan, was involved in a two-car collision at the Gepps Cross junction at the weekend.
Dr Prasad, 66, who was known as Uma, owned a successful GP practice at Brahma Lodge, one of the largest in the northern suburbs.
Today, shocked friends and colleagues paid tribute to the "humble good Samaritan" who was also considered one of Fiji's leading physicians and most generous philanthropists, who "set a new standard for benevolence".
He split his time between Adelaide - where he owned "several properties" - and Lautoka, on the west coast of Fiji, where he taught at the medical school named in his honour.
The father-of-four, who emigrated to Australia from the pacific island almost 40 years ago, pledged more than FJD$1m ($600,000), in 2006, towards the construction of the University of Fiji-based centre he founded.
Did you know Dr Prasad? Send your tributes and memories by leaving a comment below.
The Umanand Prasad School of Medicine was formally opened by the country's Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama in a ceremony attended by the country's elite including members of Cabinet, the diplomatic corps and other "distinguished guests".
The former Ministry of Health official, who had six grandchildren, was appointed "honorary dean" of the country's second medical school when it began operations in 2008.
Colleagues today told The Advertiser the "good Samaritan" had paid off his donation to the school in April along with FJD$45,000 ($26,000) worth of scholarships before the first batch of students graduate in December.
"Dr Prasad had been eagerly awaiting the [graduation] event to be present and participate," said Kamlesh Arya, from the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji [APSF], a religious body representing Indian Fijians.
"The news of his tragic passing has shocked the Sabha and its members. Fiji has lost a good son."
The doctor had plans to build a Hall of Residence for the students and had recently bought land adjacent to its campus but his death has now thrown the project into doubt.
Mr Arya, who is also the registrar at the Fiji University, which is operated by the APSF, said the whole community was devastated at the accident.
"The UniFiji Community as well as the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, in these moments of grief celebrates the life of a humble son of Fiji who has set a new standard for benevolence," he said.
"Dr Prasad's memories would always be part of the campus life … through the majestic three-storey building of the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine."
A spokesman for the International Congress for Fiji Indians (ICFI), an organisation in which Dr Prasad was a former vice president, also paid tribute.
He added: "We all in the ICFI are shocked and saddened to hear of Dr Umanand Prasad's passing away."
Dr Prasad, originally from Labasa, on Vanua Levu, the second largest island of Fiji, died at the scene after the crash, which occurred on the corner of Main North and Grand Junction roads at 5.45pm on Sunday.
The 57 year-old driver of the other vehicle was taken to hospital with minor wounds along with his passenger, a 48 year-old man from Evanston, near Gawler, who received "non-life-threatening injuries".
Police are investigating the cause of the crash and have appealed for witnesses. Earlier this month the RAA named the intersection as one of the "riskiest".
Dr Prasad's death takes the road toll to 60 compared with 51 at the same time last year.
A report is being prepared for the coroner. His family were unavailable for comment today.

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