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World Paediatric Surgery Day: A Celebration by AIIMS Delhi

AIIMS New Delhi marked a historic milestone by observing World Paediatric Surgery Day on the special occasion of World Health Day on April 7th by organising a public lecture and panel discussion on this year’s theme of ‘My Health, My Right’. Many distinguished guest speakers from the medical field came together on the dais to enlighten the audience on the critical importance of paediatric surgical care for children between the ages of 0 to 18. 


World Paediatric Surgery Day

Addressing a diverse audience including students from DPS RK Puram, AIIMS New Delhi, and experienced medical professionals, the event focused on advocating for paediatric healthcare accessibility and proper paediatric care for children. The event highlighted the critical need for early medical intervention and ensuring that children have access to comprehensive healthcare services. Leaders emphasised the vital importance of providing optimal surgical care for paediatric patients. By bringing attention to paediatric surgical needs, the event spurred many discussions on how to address medical errors and safeguard children's right to quality healthcare.


DIGNITARIES ON THE DIAS

The celebration of the first ever  World paediatric Surgery Day was addressed by notable speakers like Dr Pushpa Deo Choudhary, Team leader of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ms Padma Srinivasan, Principal of DPS, RK Puram, New Delhi. 


The event was also graced with the wise words of retired Group Captain of the Indian Air Force, Mr. Mohan Gurudev, who prides himself 30 years of service as Director of Training in the Indian Air Force and founder of Kalp Vrikh Guru, an organisation aimed at dealing with behavioural aspects of children, adults and individuals across all professions to imbibe holistic healing for all.



PAEDIATRIC HEALTHCARE IN INDIA AND BEYOND

After a short prayer to inaugurate the event, Dr Pushpa Deo Choudhary began her insightful speech on how India has made significant strides in the realm of paediatric healthcare and yet challenges persist that need to be addressed. In her address, she highlights that it is only recently in India that greater importance is being given to non-communicable diseases that need proper intervention among children from an early age. For this, she underscored the importance of initiatives such as the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist that is aimed at minimising complications and ensuring safer procedures.


PAEDIATRIC HEALTHCARE IN INDIA AND BEYOND

The three major areas of focus that currently constitute the burden of the paediatric healthcare system of India are congenital birth defects among newborns, childhood cancer & traumatic injuries requiring acute medical attention. 

NOTABLE INITIATIVES AND PROGRAMS

Several organisations have taken proactive steps to address paediatric healthcare challenges in India and beyond. For example, Dr. Deo Choudhary, in her speech, highlights The Government of India’s implementation of various initiatives aimed at combating birth defects and identifying them at an early stage for optimised care. They also focus on providing staple foods, conducting screening for gestational diabetes, and conducting ultrasounds to detect potential health issues early on. Additionally, the National Newborn Program emphasises the importance of post-birth screening to identify and address visible defects promptly.


On 3rd March 2023, a significant event organised jointly by AIIMS New Delhi and the Spina Bifida Organization shed light on the experiences of young adults living with spina bifida,  a life-altering condition which is a type of neural tube defect (NTD) caused by combination of genetic, nutritional and environmental risk factors causes the condition. This event featured the firsthand accounts of many individuals experiencing spina bifida and paediatric surgeons who shared insights into the management of spina bifida, highlighting the importance of comprehensive care and support for affected individuals.


On a global scale, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office collaborated with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta to establish the Regional Birth Defect Surveillance Network & Database in 2014. This initiative aimed to systematically monitor and record birth defects across participating countries. India's involvement in this network revealed valuable data, with 1.06% of birth defects detected among 2.3 million screened children. Such collaborative efforts play a crucial role in understanding the prevalence of birth defects and developing targeted interventions to address them effectively.


These initiatives underscore the collective commitment to improving paediatric healthcare outcomes and ensuring access to essential services for children worldwide. By fostering collaboration between governments, healthcare institutions, and advocacy groups, strides are being made towards creating a healthier and more inclusive future for all children, regardless of geographical location or socio-economic status.


CHILDHOOD CANCER IN INDIA

Dr. Deo Choudhary also highlighted the issue of childhood cancer in India, coupled with life-changing disabilities, that poses yet another significant challenge. She noted that equitable access to healthcare without the burden of financial liability and effective treatment programs are the need of the hour. 


Government of India  initiatives like the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) and the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PNK) are steps in the right direction. However, a multi-disciplinary approach and enhanced workforce training across paediatric, anaesthetic, and neonatal domains are critical for long-term rehabilitation.


While the expansion of medical colleges is anticipated to improve access, paediatricians must champion preventive measures such as parental education and early prenatal screening. Collaboration with public health experts and policymakers is essential for rapid development and the strengthening of dedicated public health programs.


In conclusion, while advancements in Indian paediatric healthcare are notable, there is an urgent need for equitable access and comprehensive solutions to address the myriad challenges faced by our children. Only through concerted efforts and a multi-pronged approach can we ensure a brighter and healthier future for the next generation.


WHY WORLD PAEDIATRIC SURGERY DAY?

Many speeches by key speakers followed. One such was by Dr. Shilpa Sharma who wonderfully explained the purpose of this occasion and basic steps to follow for good neonatal care of children. She highlights that World paediatric Surgery Day is an occasion established by the World Federation of Associations of paediatric Surgeons (WOFAPS). It sought to become an annual checkpoint and a platform to address the disparities between developed and developing countries in paediatric surgical care and how that affects the trajectory of childcare in countries like India. 


Beyond maternal health, the event emphasised the crucial role of paternal origin in shaping the health and well-being of children. Discussions highlighted the impact of male sperm and its DNA repair mechanisms, underscoring the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to mitigate genetic and epigenetic diseases. Basic care steps, including dispelling fear surrounding surgery for children, were also emphasised, promoting a holistic approach to paediatric healthcare.


CONCLUSION

Through guest lectures and awareness drives by notable medical professionals, the event organised by AIIMS New Delhi truly aimed to empower parents and caregivers with essential knowledge about neonatal care and paediatric surgery, fostering a culture of proactive healthcare management for children worldwide. For more such enlightening information about events and conferences in the healthcare sector, stay tuned to blogs by Sunil Khattri & Associates


 

The Author : Dr. Sunil Khattri 

+91 9811618704


Dr. Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.

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