Indian Pediatrics 2000;37: 249-254
XXXVII National Conference of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, January 27, 2000
I consider myself very fortunate, to be the President of IAP in the magic year of 2000. I would like to thank all members of IAP for giving me this unique opportunity by electing me with an overwhelming majority.
This year is important for everybody to take stock of what we have achieved and what we should plan to do for in the coming years. This is specially significant for a vibrant organization like IAP, the sole representative body of all pediatricians in our country. First of all to justify being truly representative of the pediatricians of India let us concentrate on getting more members into our fold. Let us aim at all young PG students. I request all our state and city branches to see that every member is also a central IAP member, though this is a must, unfortunately it is not being followed. I plan to overcome all the problems and find solutions after discussion with the office bearers of various branches.
I will of course be continuing IAP's ongoing and regular programmes like RCH programme with the Government of India, ORS awareness with ICICI and PATH. So I will not go into details about our ongoing programmes which will go on in full swing during my tenure. In my address I propose to deal mainly with our new agenda for IAP.
IAP has achieved a lot on the academic front, we are doing extremely well in our various conferences, seminars and updates. It is important to continue these, but academics should not be the only purpose of our existence. We should also involve ourselves in social problems faced by millions of Indian children who may not be reaching us as our patients.
They do not reach us because they have no parents to bring them to us,... they do not reach us because their parents cannot afford our fees to bring them to us,... they do not reach us because their parents are on daily wages and cannot afford to spend a whole day waiting in public hospitals. They need us..., they need our skills and support as pediatricians, ... and if they cannot come to us, we as an organization must attempt to reach out to them. It is our sacred duty! How do we do this?
The IAP Executive Board of 1999 had accepted my suggestion and declared the year 2000 at IAP's Year of the Adolescent and "Child at Risk" (i.e., underprivileged child). To bring this decision into action, two National Task Forces will come into being this year, a plan of which has been presented to the IAP Executive Board of 2000.
A National Task Force on Adolescent Care and a National Task Force on Child at Risk will be formed. Both will have state task forces and city task forces for implementation and feedback. The action plan for these has already been presented to the Executive Board. Plans for various city and district branches will be directly conveyed to them.
On the last day of the conference, a national workshop is being held on "Adolescent Care-Need of the Millennium" sponsored by UNICEF. We will bring out recommendations and an action plan, which will be implemented from next month itself. This task is not some-thing, which can be achieved in short span of a year, and hence it will continue till the end of the year 2004. The FOGSI (Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology) have very success-fully completed 1999 as the year for adolescent girl. We are going to join hands with them this year in addition to our programmes for adoles-cent boys. Dr. M.K.C. Nair and our adolescent experts have formulated an excellent plan of establishing teenage care clinics and teenage wards all over the country. This plan also will be notified to all our members.
We have also formed a National Task Force for Child at Risk. Work on "Child at Risk" also should go on for five years. We will have state and city task forces and implement our plans through all our branches. For this programme we will be collaborating with the Government, UNICEF, WHO and all NGO's doing work in the field.
We will be collaborating with service organizations like Rotary International. I have become a Rotarian last year and many of our members are active Rotarians and hence we plan to start a group "Rotarians in IAP". All the Rotary members are requested to send their names and addresses of their Rotary Clubs to IAP as we are going to form a data base. I also request you to actively coordinate with Rotary International for their "Child at Risk" pro-gramme. There are many other organizations like Lions, Jaycees and many NGOs in various parts of the country also doing good work. We should join hands with them also. If any member is interested in making Lions or Jaycee group in IAP please write to me.
Why have I chosen these programmes?
We could initially take care of the health problems of adolescent and at risk children through a `Health Package'. We will do medical checkups, do regular deworming, give supplementary iron and multivitamins and take care of their immunizations. We can join hands with other service organizations and NGOs who are working in the field of their vocational, educational and social problems and offer our medical knowledge inputs. There is so much we can do if we put our hearts and minds together. I thought of involving each and every one of you in this and work hand in hand (not hand in glove!).
This is my mission for the next five years of my life and I
hope many of you will also make it your mission and join hands with me. I have
already got wonderful responses from many members. Any member who is interested
please contact your branch or you can write directly to me at IAP
address. The details of this action plan will be published in Academy Today and
sent to all branches and heads of depart-ments for information.
We have successfully completed PALS project 2000, which was started during my tenure as General Secretary of IAP. Dr. Janakiraman from Chicago held the first PALS trainers course in 1995 and I was fortunate enough to become the first certified instructor of IAP PALS course in the country. This dedicated man proposed IAP PALS project 2000 and helped us to train 100 PALS instructors in IAP in last five years. We have held a total of 83 courses and 3,300 IAP members have been trained. Under his guidance this course has become one of the most popular courses of IAP and we have a well planned structure of National and Zonal co-ordinators. The success of PALS courses is also due to dedicated National co-ordinators and I thank the past National PALS co-ordinators K.G. Kamala, Sunit Singhi, P. Nalini and Zonal co-ordinators like Lalita Janakiraman and Dilip Mukherjee for their valuable contribution. I was fortunate enough to be West Zone cordinator for three years and I am very keen to formulate PALS project 2005 during my tenure, details of which will be put in Academy Today. We are specially felicitating Dr. Janakiraman today. In 1996 during my General Secretary's tenure we got five sets of PALS mannequins due to efforts made by Dr. Uday Bodhankar and a donation from USA given by Dr. Vidyasagar for which we have honored him at Cochin. I am negotiat-ing with the PALS section of AAP, to get further sets.
IAP has progressed on affiliation to IPA (International Pediatric Association) and we were privileged to host the International Congress of Pediatrics at Delhi in 1977. IAP is affiliated also to the APSSEAR (Association of Pediatric Societies of South East Asian Regions) and we held the 8th Asian Congress of Pediatrics at Delhi in 1994, where I was fortunate to have worked as Joint Secretary. IAP has affiliation to ISTP (International Society of Tropical Pediatrics) and we hosted the 5th International Congress of Tropical Pediatrics at Jaipur just last February. We are also affiliated to PAS (Pediatric Association of SAARC countries).
I am fortunate to have in the audience, for my installation ceremony today Dr. Donald Cook, the President of American Academy of Pediatrics and Dr. Errol Alden. The culmination of IAP AAP alliance over last many years, has been the IAP AAP CME 2000 a CME scheduled on 4-7th February 2000 in Mumbai and by the virtue of being the President of IAP for 2000, I have been given the honour to be the Organizing Chairperson. This CME will have many firsts. The first AAP CME in Asia, the first IAP meet to have a Cybercafe and the proceedings available on CD, Audio and Video cassettes for those who are unable to attend.
I have already started work on broadening our International relationships. We have become affiliated to the Asian Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and I have been nominated to the standing committee. I am also discussing collaboration with the Australian College of Pediatricians and we are fortunate to have for this Pedicon, Dr. Jill Sewell from Australia who is the Vice-President of Pediatrics of the Australian College of Physicians. I am also having some talks with the Israel and Mexican Societies.
While we are progressing on International scene we cannot neglect our home front. IAP needs to be a force to reckon with in all matters related to Child Health. For this we need closer ties with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. We need closer collaboration with WHO and UNICEF, service organizations like Rotary, etc. and NGOs like CRY etc., who are doing good work in the field of child health. This has to be done not only at the national level but at every state and district level. I have
formulated a plan of action for these and will be in close
touch with all our branches so that by the end of my tenure we will have
achieved this. The states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Bihar are
already working on these collaborations very successfully.
During my tenure I plan to have a lot of interaction between the branches and central IAP and decentralise a lot of issues. Our branches are doing excellent work in making a contribution to society and children's health. I congratulate the IAP Kerala Branch for taking lead in making Kerala tobacco free. I congratu-late the Delhi Branch for introducing MMR into Government schedule and Tamil Nadu and Kerala for introducing Hepatitis B. Any branch that does such activity needs to be publi- cised, to stimulate other branches, so please immediately inform me about you success stories.
As the first step towards decentralisation, I plan to make state branches the nodal agencies. I will be writing to all city/district branches to send all accounts and reports to the state branches. I am requesting all state branches to institute prizes for best branch in various categories. After discussion with state branch presidents and secretaries, I plan to introduce a three tiered fee structure in IAP which will be discussed in the June Executive Board meeting and presented to the General Body next year.
When our total branches have crossed the number of 150, it is indeed sad that very few compete for prizes. This year we had not more than 5-14 in various categories. I have requested the board to allow a special recognition award by IAP President to be started for smaller branches and chapters for good work done. This time the Northeast branches who despite small membership have been doing all IAP activities with zest and dedication, have been selected for the honour.
I had started the PP QUIZ during my secretary's tenure. Since
it is well accepted by the branches we will continue it this year also.
I have received proposals from many medical portals wanting IAP guidelines on common diseases. I am requesting all our sub-chapters to give me at the earliest guidelines which can be put on the Internet and linked to IAP Web site.
I am requesting all our subspeciality chapters to find out
details of International societies in their field, so that IAP can be further
affiliated. The Executive Board has passed my suggestion of IAP seeking
affiliation to various speciality International associations so that our
sub-chapters can grow at International level. This will put IAP prominently on
the international map and give us an opportunity to truly become international.
Dr. Veena Karla has already won the bid to host one international congress. We
have been approached to be co-hosts for the International Association for Mental
Health. I hope by the end of 2000 we will have a long list of international
I owe a lot to the dedicated heads of departments in IAP. Only because of them I was able to be successful in the challenge of weaning the UG QUIZ from Industry and making it an IAP activity for the last 4 years. I am specially requesting them to help me look after the adolescents and underpriveleged children this year and for the years to come.
Dr. Swarna Rekha had made a proposal to have an association of heads of departments in IAP. I am happy to inform you that the board has accepted this proposal and I am sure this IAP HODs cell or group will do a lot of constructive work in IAP.
As the President, I will be meeting the office bearers of
various state branches, subchapters and heads of departments during the next two
days. To make IAP a vibrant body a lot of interaction is needed between all of
them. If they accept my various proposals I will put them as highlights of these
meetings in the next Academy Today for information of members.
I had started the Computer Group in IAP in 1994, and I am very happy to see it grow year after year. I continue to be their advisor and I am impressed by the new talent that comes in every year. This year they have had a series of workshops and I have asked them to formalize a structure so that uniform standardized workshops can be held all over the country. Any branch wishing to hold a workshop please write to the Computer Group.
I am also happy to announce that IAP Website has been created by the computer group and I thank Dr. Vijay Agarwal, Advisor to the Computer Group for working hard to achieve this.
I congratulate both our Editors Dr. H.P.S. Sachdev and Dr. Vijayakumar for the excellent work they are doing for our two Journals. I thank the editorial team of IJPP for their wonderful support of giving prizes year after year for the UG QUIZ.
IAP's Text book of Pediatrics published under the able guidance of our Past President Dr. A. Parthasarathy has done very well. I have requested them to continue the good work, and we have planned to bring out a second edition, this year. A Guide Book for Parent Education has also been planned out by our Past President
and Chairperson of Parent Education Cell, Dr. M.R. Lokeshwar and should be ready by the end of this year. The IAP Guidebook on Immunization which was published in 1996 has been very well received and requires an update edition with so many new vaccines available in the Indian market today. This task also will be undertaken under the stewardship of Dr. Jacob John this year.
We also plan to bring out a booklet on Guidelines for
Organizing IAP Conferences soon.
All those who have worked actively in the Academy know that majority of our President's have been males. I am the 7th woman President and the 3rd woman General Secretary in 37 years of IAP !! I know for sure there are many talented and deserving women in our Academy but not every one is fortunate to get the right opportunity and hence during my tenure I intend to galvanize women into being more active. Any woman member who wants to work more actively in the mainstream of the Academy please contact me with your biodata and I assure you of my wholehearted support.
There are many women in IAP who do not want to take part in IAP elections but work sincerely for IAP. A good example of this is the full time staff members of Nair Hospital in Mumbai. These dedicated women were the back bone of all my activities during my tenure of General Secretary, be it UG or PG Quiz or PALS courses. During my tenure I would like to encourage more of such women and hope many of them will start contesting elections too!
We will be putting in Academy Today what we want to have in Women's Forum and depending upon the response we will have it structured next year.
Before I end, I would like to acknowledge a long list of IAP members who have been instrumental in shaping my career in this Academy. Though, I became a member of the Academy in 1978, I presented my research paper in an IAP Annual Conference for the first time in 1984. Since this was held in Mumbai, I saw very closely the working of all India IAP Office Bearers and the stalwarts of Mumbai pediatricians in action. And that was the time I decided that I am going to be somebody in the Academy one day! After winning the James Flett Award in 1986 at Delhi, I contested for the EB post in 1987 and since then IAP has become like a second family to me. I have seen successive Presidents and General Secretaries at very close quarters.
I have learnt a lot from various Presidents and would like to imbibe their strong points and try not to commit the same mistakes. However being human I am sure to commit some mistakes, but at least they will not be repeat ones! From Dr. Benkappa, Dr. Avalokita Desai, and Dr. N.R. Bhandari, I learnt dignity and maturity; from Dr. Subash Arya and Dr. Lokeshwar I learnt public relations; from Dr. Potdar and Dr. Bodhankar I learnt vision for future of IAP; from Dr. Amdekar I learnt precision, from Dr. R.N. Srivastava I learnt discipline and perseverance; and from Dr. Jacob John I learnt clarity of thought. But from Dr. Parthasarathy with whom I worked as General
Secretary, I learned all what a President should be and I hope I have as successful a tenure as he did.
And last but not the least I thank all my family members for supporting me, for my work in IAP, my teacher Dr. P.M. Udani for all his guidance over last so many years, and my good friends Drs. Anagha Jayakar, Jyotsna Kirtane and Ramesh Potdar for always being there for me.
I was very fortunate that our immediate Past President Dr. Jacob John allowed and en-couraged me to work actively right from the first day of my taking over as President Elect. This has helped me tremendously in my action plan. I sincerely thank him and I have requested that he should continue working actively as Past President for the proposed National Neonatal task. I am very fortunate to have Dr. Y.C. Mathur as President Elect and I have requested him to start actively working right from now.
I have in my team as General Secretary Dr. G.S. Hathi, a very senior IAP member who has worked with me excellently as a Treasurer and a very dynamic Treasurer, Dr. Nitin Shah. With an excellent Executive Member team, I promise we will justify the faith put in us by our members.
Jai Hind, Jai IAP.