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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

31st Annual National Conference of IAPSM held at PGI Chandigarh

Author(s): Dr. A.S. Wantamutte

Vol. 29, No. 1 (2004-01 - 2004-03)

Hon'ble Chief Guest, Chairperson, guests, invitees, dear delegates, ladies and gentlemen and friends from media. At the very outset I like to congratulate the department of Community Medicine PGIMER, Chandigarh for hosting this conference. Before I dwell upon my presidential address, I would like to refresh your memory about the aims and objectives set by the IAPSM society at its inception, they are:

  1. To improve the standard of teaching in the subject of Community Medicine at all levels
  2. To promote research in the speciality.
  3. To promote inter departmental co-operation and co-ordination in the institutions with regard to teaching and research activities.
  4. To publish a Journal which will promote these aims and help in dissemination of the latest information about the subject.

It gives me an immense pleasure to inform you that IAPSM was able to carry out these constitutional and obligatory responsibilities during the year 2003-2004. The notable among these were, organization of National and Zonal conferences, State chapter conferences, holding of annual elections, publication of Indian Journal of Community Medicine, preparation of Audited Statement of Accounts besides research endeavours etc. The following are the details:

a) The IAPSM organized CMEs and Conferences for the members through State Chapters in the States of West Bengal, Maharashtra, Orissa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and North Zone ( J & K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab & Haryana).

b) At national level the Secretary General was involved in formulating policy on Child Health and Immunization (Introduction of Newer Vaccines in the country).

c) Dissemination of information on research and recent developments through Indian Journal of Community Medicine on regular basis during the year 2003-2004. The IJCM full text is available on internet at NIC (National Information Centre) free of charge as memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed with NIC in the year 2003 for free service, thus saving of Rs.5,000 per annum as cost of on line charges. This journal is now referred by International Network of Scientists in Community Medicine.

d) Involvement of IAPSM in Polio eradication programme and its surveillance activities.

e) IAPSM is also involved in Health consortium at National level for conducting general health survey and health seeking behaviour studies in different parts of the country in 2003 and 2004 in collaboration with nodal agency of NIHFW, New Delhi.

f) IAPSM through epidemiological research grant have completed two studies.

  1. Adverse sex ratio in Haryana and its socio-demographic effects, conducted at PGIMS, Rohtak
  2. Dietary practices in Adolescents of Chandigarh by GMC Chandigarh.

During the year 2003 in the month of February the 30th Annual Conference of IAPSM was held at J.N. Medical College, Belgaum, Karnataka, which helped to share the scientific information at National and Regional level. A special CME of one day was held on the subject of Medical Ethics. The conference was a grand success.

Friends, over the period of time the subject of Community Medicine has grown vastly and today it has evolved as an important field of learning and practice that contributes immensely in controlling and preventing health problems and in upliftment of health of the masses.

In the present millennium, the subject of Community Medicine is of vital importance in developing strategies to deal effectively the emerging and re-emerging infections like HIV/AIDS, SARS, Mad Cow disease (CJD), Bird flu etc. where the control and preventive measures are the key factors.

Presently, in our country and other developing countries there is a need for basic doctor or a family physician who can handle effectively the day to day health problems of the community. But are we really able to provide such doctors in good numbers to meet the demand? The present day trend is to aim for super specialities and five star hospital culture. In this mad rush for different specialty and super specialty by our young medical graduates we have completely neglected the concepts of basic doctor or a family physician. This is one of the reasons for not achieving the goal of HFA. That's why the rural masses remain neglected as far as their health care needs are concerned. Majority of our interns, who are supposed to work and learn practical skills in hospital wards during their intership are sitting in the library reading for Entrance Exams, leaving their job to be done by PGs.

The Medical Colleges in general have a social accountability to produce a doctor who will take care of the health needs of the masses and not of the privileged few. It is up to us to address this problem seriously and suggest measures. Similarly, the teaching of the subject of Community Medicine has to be uniform all over the country and also there has to be uniformity about the timing of the examination of Community Medicine. Presently, there are gross differences in this regard throughout the country. I personally feel that the injustice has been done to our subject as well as to UGs by making them answer for the university examination prematurely before learning the entire subject of Medicine, OBG, Paediatrics and Surgery etc. I, therefore, feel the examination in the subject of Community Medicine at the UG level should be conducted along with Medicine, Surgery, OBG and not earlier as it is presently practiced. It is up to senior Professors and Experts in the subject to take note of this and as a official body of IAPSM we should try to convince the MCI for the change, which will immensely help the undergraduates in understanding the subject of Community Medicine thoroughly and implement the same in their day-to-day practice and at the same time it will take care of the problem of providing competent basic doctor with a concept of comprehensive medical care. In the recent times "feel good" atmosphere is also prevailing amongst the specialists of Community Medicine, because employment opportunities are increasing day-by-day for our specialists as government Health Departments and reputed NGOs are recruiting our specialists in various health surveys, programme evaluations, implementation of newer programmes and in research activities. It is a very encouraging sign. It is up to us specially our youngsters to take advantage of this opportunity and prove their worth and rise to the expectations of the Government and NGOs. Let us all in the field of Community Medicine join hands in furthering the cause of the subject and emerge stronger in the days to come.

I hope the conference will provide an excellent opportunity for all of us to exchange our newer information, views and newer ideas in teaching and research activities. I wish the discussions on the important health issues will help experts working in the field of Community Medicine and public health in formulating future strategies which will go a long way in guiding the health professionals and teachers of Community Medicine.

In the coming three days I hope you will enjoy scientific feast in the form of research papers and scientific sessions and discussions.

I take this opportunity to thank Dr. Sunder Lal, Secretary General of IAPSM and all the Governing Council and Executive Committee members for their co-operation and whole hearted support during my tenure. I wish the conference every success.

LONG LIVE IAPSM!

Dr. A.S. Wantamutte
President IAPSM,
Prof. & Head, Deptt. of Community Medicine
J.N. Medical College, Belgaum, Karnataka

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