Dr. Amal Chandra Barua
Formerly Professor & Head, Department of Pediatrics,
Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Guwahati

The Assam State Branch of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics has been formed by fluke of circumstances.

 

Preamble:
After amalgamation of Indian Pediatric Society, formed by Dr. K.C. Chaudhuri of Kolkata in 1948 and Association of Pediatrics of India, formed by Dr. G. Coelho of Mumbai in 1950, Indian Academy of Pediatrics was established in 1963 and Dr. L.S.N. Prasad of Patna was its first elected president and the 1st Annual National Conference of IAP was held at Pune in 1964 under his presidentship.
Though after obtaining DCH (C.U.) I was an ordinary member of Indian Pediatric Society since 1958, I was not a pioneer member of IAP due to certain personal circumstances like preparation for my M.D. (Medicine) and subsequent study and training abroad under W,H.O. fellowship. However, I became an ordinary member of IAP since 1967 and started attending annual IAP conferences held at different cities in India. By then I was aware of the constitutional provision of the minimum fifteen Ordinary/Life/Fellow members required to form a state branch. There was, however, no bar for members from another state to join a state branch as its member.


I was promoted as Professor of Pediatrics and transferred to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Guwahati in January 1970.


XV International Congress of Pediatrics was held at New Delhi from 23rd to 29thOctober 1977 and Dr. N.S. Tibrewalla was elected as President of the Congress of Pediatrics for the same event. I was well acquainted with him since 1972 when he presided over the National Conference of IAP held at Agra. At the end of the concluding session of the International Congress on 29/10/1977 he met me and informed that he would be coming to Guwahati for a few days to participate in All India Bridge (Cards) Competition at Maligaon, Guwahati.
Within a fortnight of my return from New Delhi, a cheque for Rupees Fifty arrived as a central IAP contribution for the Assam State Branch! In those days it was customary to get some contribution from Central IAP for different state branches depending on their membership strength. It was a great surprise to me as not only was there no Assam State Branch, we did not even have more than nine or ten Ordinary/Life/Fellow members as well. Nevertheless we did not want to miss this opportunity and I immediately contacted Dr. Gokul Bora, my student and close friend who was by then a practicing pediatrician in Guwahati. We both went to the Central Bank of India at PanBazar, opened a savings account in the name of IAP Assam State Branch and deposited the cheque therein.


Formation of Assam State Branch:

We appealed to Ordinary/Life members of IAP from the sister states of Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh to join our state branch till such time as they formed their own separate state branches. I contacted Dr. N.S. Tibrewalla who was luckily available at Guwahati. At a small gathering at Hotel Belle Vue, in presence of Dr. Gokul Bora, Dr. Harish Ch. Sanna, myself, Sri Naren Deka, Sub Editor of the Assam Tribune and a few others, Dr. N.S. Tibrewalla formally declared the Assam Chapter open. And thus in 1977 the Assam State Branch of IAP was born!
After preliminary preparation we organised the 1st Annual State Conference on 10/03/1979 at Guwahati. Dr S. Barua being the first Professor of Pediatrics in Assam was selected as the 1st State President. Besides delegates from various parts of Assam, pediatricians from Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh also took part. Some of the distinguished invited guests were Dr. LSN Prasad from Patna, Dr. Sisir K Bose, Dr. Rafique Ahmed and Dr. Tirthankar Dutta, our central executive member from Eastern region. Goodwill messages were received from President and Vice President of India, Governors and Chief Ministers of Assam and other sister states, President of IAP and other dignitaries.


In the general body meeting it was decided to rename the branch as North East Regional Branch till the other states formed their own branches. Though central IAP does not encourage zonal or regional chapters, it made an exception for North West and North East regional branches on our request. The first executive body comprised of the following members:


(1) President: Dr. S. Barua
(2) Vice President (not president elect): Dr. J.N. Bhuyan
(3) Secretary: Dr. A.C. Barua
(4) Treasurer: Dr. Gokul Bora
(5) Editor of the Souvenir: Dr. (Mrs.) Nandita Barua (Sarma)


Executive Body Members:
(1) Dr. M.K. Barooah, AMC, Dibrugarh
(2) Dr. G.C. Chakravarty, Agartala, Tripura
(3) Dr. (Mrs.) L. Ibetombi Devi, Imphal, Manipur
(4) Dr. B. Kalita, Nagaon
(5) Dr. S.K. Raha, NF Railways Central Hospital, Maligaon
(6) Dr. H.N. Baruah, AOC, Digboi
(7) Dr. P.P. Chaliha, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh


The general body decided to extend the term of the office bearers and some executive members by another one year. Thereafter because of the Assam agitation, there was a full in our branch activities and we had the 1st Annual Conference of the NER Branch at Guwahati on 08/04/1984 with a pre-conference workshop on Neonatology on 07/04/1984.

 

I had the opportunity to attend the first orientation course in Neonatology held at Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi, (February 17-28, 1969) under the auspices of Govt. of India/WHO/UNICEF. It was conducted by WHO consultant, Beryl Corner and dealt with mainly primary and a little bit of secondary neonatal care like incubator etc. Dr. S.K. Bhargava, Assistant Professor of Neonatology at Safdarjang Hospital was my co-participant and we became very good friends and later I requested him to come to Guwahati to conduct the day-long workshop alone as there was a dearth of suitable persons to help him out in those days. On 08/04/1984 Dr. T. Jacob John from Vellore gave a talk on "Recent Trends in Immunisation in children".
General body was held at different places as featured in the table enclosed (in the initial stages for first few conferences we had to go there more than once to help them with organizational aspects.
By 2008 we have achieved a lot. Our membership strength is now more than three hundred. Even at Guwahaii we have more than a hundred pediatricians. Various city district and one regional (Barak valley) branches are flourishing and working effectively. Subsequently pediatricians like Dr. R.K. Kayal, Dr. J.N. Sharma, Dr. B Kalita, Dr. G. Bora, Dr. S.C. Jain, Dr. C.S. Das, Dr. A.L. Saha, Dr. N.C. Jain, Dr. (Mrs.) Arati Deka, Dr. Abhinandan Das, Dr. Garima Saikia, Dr. Nivedita Goswami and many others got together and formed the Assam State Branch of the National Neonatology Forum and started training pediatricians and other medical personnel at medical college hospitals to district hospitals and even primary health centres in neonatal care. XXI Annual Conference of NNF was held at Guwahati from 14/02/2001 to 16/02/2001. The Assam State Branch of IAP has received the best state branch as well as awards for carrying out various programmes related to breast feeding, ORT, adolescent care, etc., at the national level on many occasions.

 

In the year 2002 under presidentship of Dr NC Hazarika and Dr Shabina Ahmed as Secretary and Nirmal Jain as treasurer the activities of Assam state branch received recognition at the national level and gained entry into the national arena.and an important benchmark was formed .


However we cannot afford to be complacent and we need to work harder to offer the best care to our needy child population. Though many cities of India could host the IAP national conferences on more than one occasion, we could not as yet host a single national conference our state. Moreover we now have to look after the adolescents with their various physical, psychological, social and other problems. There is no time for relaxation but to work harder to reach new goals.

 

I like to conclude by quoting: "A child's brain is a fire to be ignited, not a pot to be filled"- John Locke.

Sl no. President Secretary Annual Conference
1
Dr. S. Barua Dr. A. C. Barua 1st Annual Conference of Assam State Branch at Guwahati on 10/03/1979
2
Dr. S. Barua Dr. A. C. Barua 1st Conference of IAP NER branch at Guwahati on 08/04/1984
3
Dr. A.C. Barua Dr. J.N. Sharrna 2nd Conference of NER Branch at Guwahati on 25/08/1985
4
Dr. A. C. Barua Dr. R.K. Kayal 3rd NER IAP Conference at Agartala in 25/10/1986
5
Dr. (Mrs.) L.I. Devi (could not be traced) 4th NER IAP Conference at Silchar in 1987
6
Dr. J.N. Bhuyan Dr. R.K. Sarma 5th NER IAP Conference at Dibrugarh on 13/02/1989
7
Dr. D.N. Sarma Dr. P. Viswanath 6th NER IAP Conference at Shillong on 28/10/1990
8
Dr. H.C. Sarma Dr. D.K. Patgiri 7th NER IAP Conference at Tezpur in 1991
9
Dr. Gokul Bora Dr. Abhinandan Das 8th + 1 = 9th Assam State Conference at Guwahati on 13/02/1993.
After 1992 Manipur and Tripura could form their own State Branches and we switched back to Assam State Branch with intimation to Central IAP, the number of conferences was calculated as State Branch and NER Branch together. Subsequently Nagaland and Meghalaya also formed their separate state branches.
10
Dr. M. K. Barooah Dr. (Mrs.) Arati Deka 10th Assam State Conference at Dibrugarh on 07/04/1994
11
Dr. M.C. Dutta Dr. (Mrs.) P. Bora (Lahkar) 11th Assam State Conference at Jorhat in March 1995
12
Dr. B. Kalita Dr. (Mrs.) Kalpana Patangia Deka 12th Assam State along with 3rd East Zone IAP conference at Guwahati on Feb. 1997
13
Dr. R.K. Sarma Dr. Narayan Sarma Instead of Annual Conference, only 13th general body meeting and handing over charge to the new office bearers
14
Dr. M.K. Chakravarty Dr. P. Biswanath 14th Assam State Conference at Silchar in 1998
15
Dr. S.M. Das Dr. Sukalyan Das 15th Assam State Conference at Sibasagar in 2001
16
Dr. N.C. Hazarika Dr. (Mrs.) Shabina Ahmed 16th Assam State Conference at North Lakhimpur on 21/02/2002
17
Dr. D. K. Patgiri Dr. N.K. Jain 17th Assam State Conference at Tinsukia on 01/02/2003
18
Dr. C.S. Das Dr. (Mrs.) Nivedita Goswami 18th Assam State Conference at Hojai on 20/12/2003 for half a day only due to Bandh called by ULFA
19
Dr. R.K. Kayal Dr. (Mrs.) Garima Saikia 19th Assam State Conference at Tezpur on 18/01/2004
20
Dr. J.N. Sharma Dr. Sanjib Chakravarty 20th Assam state along with 12th East Zone IAP conference at Guwahati on 15/11/2005
21
Dr. J.N. Khargharia Dr. (Mrs.) Monali M. Das 21st Assam State Conference at Kaziranga organised by Golaghat Branch on 23/12/2006
22
Dr. Subhash Ch. Jain Dr. Sushil K. Jain 22nd Assam State Conference at Silchar in 2007
23
Dr. C.S. Das Dr. Ajoy Sarma 23rd Assam State Conference at Dibrugarh on 18/10/2008
24
Dr Shyama Saikia Dr Manoranjan Sharmah 24th Assam State Conference at Bongaigaon on 18/12/2009
25
Dr Purnima Borah Dr Lokajeet Baro 25th Assam State Conference at Nalbari on 24-25/10/2010
26
Dr Helina Rahman Dr Manab Narayan Baruah 26th Assam State Conference at Nagaon 22-23/10/2011



 
     

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