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Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
     Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-5

Presidential Address IAPSCON 2020

Department of Pediatric Surgery, Institute of Child Health, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Submission26-Nov-2020
Date of Acceptance26-Nov-2020
Date of Web Publication11-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Parthapratim Gupta
Department of Pediatric Surgery, Institute of Child Health, 11 Dr. Biresh Guha Street, Kolkata - 700 017, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaps.JIAPS_374_20

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How to cite this article:
Gupta P. Presidential Address IAPSCON 2020. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2021;26:3-5

How to cite this URL:
Gupta P. Presidential Address IAPSCON 2020. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Jan 29];26:3-5. Available from: https://www.jiaps.com/text.asp?2021/26/1/3/306712


A warm welcome to all the delegates, my seniors, colleagues, and junior friends to this first e-Conference of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons (IAPS), its 46th annual conference on digital platform.

Since I took over as the president of our association in November 2019, little did I know that we would be facing the threat from an unseen microorganism, so powerful to change the lives and lifestyle of the world population! This is fashionably termed “new normal,” but I feel this as “new abnormal,” as we had to adapt in various ways to protect ourselves, our families, patients, and health-care staffs from this dreaded COVID-19 virus. Many health-care workers in our country and abroad have unfortunately contracted COVID-19 and few have unfortunately succumbed to this unseen agent of universal destruction and mayhem, with or without proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

Few of our members were affected with this virus with a myriad of symptoms, some of which were not known before and have successfully won the battle – my heartfelt congratulations to them. Unfortunately, we have lost hundreds of our colleagues, young and aged, of different faculties in India and abroad since this pandemic started – my deepest condolences to their families.

Every state and local authorities along with the Ministry of Health, Government of India, have made their protocols, but it is not absolute as we do not know our enemy and it is still evolving.

Friends, I and your executive committee decided to look forward and take the positives out of the corona scare and lockdown. Life must go on and as professionals in health care, especially for the pediatric population, we must adapt new ways of serving them. IAPS has circulated the best practice for surgery in this COVID era and all the subchapters have circulated their guidelines. But, I believe that each of the members has to modify it according to the local administration's guidelines. I would once again remind my fellow members to be ultra-cautious when going to the hospital for their rounds. Please postpone elective operations as far as possible and take proper PPE for the team, if you have to do emergency operation.

Living in this virtual world, your committee has had extensive discussion to continue the academic activities of IAPS and has started webinars for all of our members on their subjects of interest, which seems to have caught on well as we can see with the increasing number of participants. I must acknowledge the enthusiasm and hard work of our Secretary Dr. Ravi Kanojia to take IAPS to new heights along with the joint Secretary Dr. Amar Shah and the entire executive committee members, whose active participation made things look simple.

However, even with the extended lockdown and in the absence of “physical” conferences, we are in touch with each other rather more often than ever before, taking advantage of the communication technology! I think that this year we had many more academic interactions in the form of webinars, conducted ably by the Honorary Association Secretary Dr. Ravi Kanojia. On behalf of the members of IAPS, my sincere thanks to all the speakers (national and overseas) for their excellent deliberations which would help junior and senior pediatric surgeons alike. In fact, we have utilized the time to our best advantage and achieved a lot.

I am really delighted that my dream to have IAPSCON 2020 on a virtual platform is a reality now. For the first time in the history of IAPSCONs, I decided to have a “senior's lounge” as a mark of respect and also to provide an opportunity for our seniors and mentors, to interact with each other about their good old days, which will also enrich us with their vast experience. This thought came to my mind because not all of the senior members can meet up in a physical conference and would long to see their friends from all over the country. You will be happy to know that for the first time in the history of IAPS we are having a virtual art gallery of paintings by our talented members and their spouses and a photography exhibition, which will be a permanent feature of our official website of IAPS.

There are many more achievements and/or events added to the family of IAPS by your executive committee, which will be deliberated by Dr. Ravi Kanojia in his secretary's report.

We as a nation have developed a lot, but unfortunately the health-care system still looks very unorganized, due to various factors. I would earnestly request our government to allocate more on its budget for health care. With technological advancement to achieve better results and newer antibiotics being developed in the R&Ds of pharmaceutical companies, the cost of treatment has remarkably gone up all over the world added by the raised expectations of the patient or caregivers, and no one will compromise on investigations and methods of monitoring, along with the lack of hospitals, well equipped to cater pediatric surgery in all the districts and towns of our country. With the birth rate we have, 2% of babies born with surgically correctable birth defect will total around 1 crore, which will require around 15,000–20,000 qualified pediatric surgeons with their expertise to treat them. We have <2000 members in our association.

There are various reasons for this situation:

  • The department of pediatric surgery does not exist in many hospitals and hence not projected as a faculty worth of pursuing. Health being a state subject, I feel all the state chapters of IAPS must use their power to negotiate with the respective governments, with the IAPS recommendations, along with discussing with the Government of India
  • Even for mushrooming corporate hospitals, pediatric surgery does not bring much revenue, vis a vis the investment to equip the department in its true sense
  • Lack of interest among graduates to pursue pediatric surgery as a career, may be because it is a long hard graph to be financially comfortable in this consumer-oriented societal pressure and lack of glamour when compared to few other branches of surgery. My predecessor Dr. S Ramesh even got the eligibility marks for admission to M.Ch (pediatric surgery) drastically reduced on NEET results, with no avail. Seats are still vacant all over the country
  • Job opportunities for young pediatric surgeons can only be created if all hospitals have a pediatric surgery department
  • We also need to spread our identity as a well-established faculty, and I feel we should negotiate with the appropriate authorities to have a “Pediatric Surgery day” each year and what better than the birthdate of Dr. U. C. Chakraborty, who is regarded as the father of pediatric surgery in India.

Trying to reduce the financial burden of the cost of treatment, Dr. Ramkumar Raghupathy, the then president of IAPS, negotiated with an insurance company for the possibility of “cradle insurance” and treatment of congenital defects requiring surgery, but it was never publicized by the company. To be successful with cradle insurance, I feel it should be popularized by our fellow obstetricians who must impress upon the would-be parents about the need for it, along with the insurance companies – we are out of the game when it is played, and are presented with the results (disorders to be corrected surgically). Recently, Dr. Sanjay Kulshrestha has approached the honorable court of law for redressal regarding insurance for the unborn child. The Government of India and the state governments have started schemes for treatment of children, but the package needs to be revised by our fraternity and not a nonmedical person.

What I observed over the last decade or more, is that the training during this shortened MBBS course, is not helping the students at all. Their knowledge of basic medical sciences is poor and they cannot really cope with the postgraduate curriculum. We formed a task force to liaise with higher authorities to impress upon the necessity of a 6-year course in M.Ch (pediatric surgery), but this pandemic came in the way!. We have to start afresh as the Medical Council of India has been dissolved and the National Medical Commission (NMC) is going to be looking after the job of medical education and training. We are fortunate to have one of our pediatric surgeons, Professor Vijendra, Head of Pediatric Surgery, IGIMS, Patna, as a member of the board of studies of NMC, and hope he would be able to guide us in achieving our goals of having pediatric surgery in the curriculum of undergraduate studies, and the 6-year postdoctoral course. You would be happy to know that the Director and Chief of the National Board, Professor Pawanindra Lal, is trying to introduce active teaching in superspecialty subjects through webinars apart from training being imparted in the respective departments they are pursuing their course. New accreditation is being given to institutes for training in DNB Pediatric Surgery, with the latest being Government Medical College in Srinagar.

We still lack uniformity in training, and training the trainers is the need of the hour – this will create some uniform standard for the trainees. We should suggest the curriculum for the 6-year course to the NMC.

The pool of patients in our country is mind boggling, yet we have not been able to do much research and make guidelines in the management of various surgical conditions.

Lot of good work is being done by our members at par with the best in the world, but we must have a definite guideline and protocol and publish our data. Dr. Ramesh Babu has taken the initiative in this aspect and I am sure he will come up with a plan as he did with compiling the Standard Treatment Guidelines with contributions from our members, now available on our official website.

The patient information sheet, initiated by Dr. Ketan Parikh, is also available not only in English but also in regional languages, which has been well compiled by Dr. Amar Shah.

Looking back at the extremely eventful year as a president, who worked from behind the clouds, I tried my best to achieve the very best for our association and feel satisfied. This journey through the stormy weather would not have been possible without the very enthusiastic, capable, and helpful members of the executive committee, who deserve all the credit. It also shows that our association will be in good hands in future.

I thank you all for giving me this opportunity to serve our association.

Before I conclude, just a few words for our juniors and I quote Swami Vivekananda – Learn everything that is good from others, but bring it in and in your own way adsorb it; do not become others


Take up one idea, make that one idea your life. Think of it, dream of it, Live on that idea, let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

Dear fellow members, utilize these uncertain times to rediscover yourself, your passion. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Jai Hind

Long live IAPS


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