Sir Ronald Ross Building

Sir Ronald Ross Building or Heritage Building of World Medicine or Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Parasitology is a malaria research institute located in Begumpet, Secunderabad (Mandal), Hyderabad, Telangana State, India.

Major Ronald Ross (13 May 1857 – 16 September 1932) was a British Doctor born in Almora, in current Uttarakhand, India. He was the first of ten children to be born to General Sir Campbell Claye Grant Ross, a British officer stationed in Secunderabad as as Duty Medical Officer for the Military.

At the age of eight, he was sent to England to be educated and spent much of his childhood with an aunt and uncle on the Isle of Wight.

He commenced the study of medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1875; entered the Indian Medical Service in 1881. 

He served in the third Burmese War in 1885 as a member of the Indian Medical Service. After studying bacteriology in London from 1888 to 1889, he returned to India and commenced the study of malaria in 1892.  

Built in 1895, this building was surrounded by marshes which proved rather helpful for his research experiments. 

It was in this building on 20 August 1897 that he made the discovery of the malarial parasite inside the body of a mosquito. His study confirmed that mosquitoes were the carriers of malaria parasite using birds that were already sick with malaria, Ross clearly showed that the disease could be carried in the insects’ salivary glands and transmitted to healthy birds through mosquito bites.

20 August is celebrated as the World Mosquito Day.

Ross returned to England in 1899 and joined the faculty of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He later taught at the University of Liverpool. Ross married Rosa Bessie Bloxam in 1889. They had two sons, Ronald and Charles, and two daughters, Dorothy and Sylvia. 

For his work in demonstrating the life-cycle of the parasites of malaria in mosquitoes, and thus establishing the hypothesis of Laveran and Manson, Ross was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 1902.

His book The Prevention of Malaria was published in 1910. 

He was knighted by the British government in 1911 for his achievements in medical research. 

In 1912 he became physician for tropical diseases at King’s College Hospital in London. When the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases was founded in his honor, he became its director.

His wife died in 1931, Ross survived her until a year later, when he died after a long illness, at the Ross Institute, London, on September 16, 1932.

In 1935, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board, the local civic agency, installed a marble tablet in appreciation of Ross' achievement.

In 1955, Satyanarayan Singh, a Professor of Zoology at Hyderabad's Osmania University acquired the building from the then Deccan Airlines and established the Malaria Research Institute in this building.

Research scholars from Osmania University and Osmania Medical College worked here until the building was taken over by the Airports Authority of India. 

A pilot training center was set up in this building. Former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, was trained in this building. 

In 1979, Osmania University took over the building and continued research here

In 1997, about 700 scientists from 30 countries gathered at this building to commemorate the centennial of Ronald Ross' discovery. On this occasion, the building was renovated at the cost of ₹4.1 million(US$51,000) by the British High Commission. Being a heritage building, the Archaeological Survey of India granted ₹ 650,000 for its further development. In addition, a plan was announced to convert the facility into a center of excellence and develop the landscape around the building. Despite spending money on renovation, the building was not properly maintained.

In 2008, the state government formed a committee for the restoration, conservation and promotion of the building as tourist destination. A grant of ₹ 4 million was to be utilised for developing a horticulture park and relocation of airport offices. Upon the completion of restoration, the local tourism department was set to promote the building and its heritage as a destination for national and international tourists. Despite several attempts to revive the facility, the building lies secluded and devoid of academic or research activity and without steady source of financial support. Lack of political will and lack of bureaucracy was blamed for its current state.