A two-day International Conference of Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin was held in Kolkata from Jan. 11.


Delegates from India and overseas, particularly from the U.S., U.K., Australia, Russia, Africa and the Middle East, gathered in Kolkata recently to participate in the two-day International Conference of Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin. The conference, which began Jan. 11, focused upon improving health worldwide.

During the conference, Dr. Sanku Rao of Enid, Okla., took over as president of GAPIO, with Dr. Ramesh Mehta from U.K. as vice president, Dr. Anupam Sibal as secretary-general, Dr. Nanda kumar Jairam as joint secretary and New Jersey-based allergy specialist Dr. Sudhir Parikh as treasurer. More than 300 delegates were present.

Dr. Sandip Mukerjee and Dr. Sudhir Parikh were honored with the GAPIO Lifetime Achievement Awards. The GAPIO Service Excellence Awards were given to 14 members.

Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group and founder-president of GAPIO, who has played a significant role as the architect of modern healthcare in India, chose the theme “The Non-Communicable Diseases Epidemic – Meeting the Challenges” for this conference.

Amit Mitra, minister of finance, commerce and industries for the government of West Bengal, was the chief guest at this conference. Renowned national and international faculty spoke at seven clinical sessions comprising of Cardiac Sciences, Neurosciences, Diabetes, Gastroenterology and Liver Transplantation, Robotics, Nephrology/Kidney Transplantation and Oncology. The session “GAPIO making an impact” turned out to be the highlight, said attendees and organizers.

GAPIO is a non-profit organization and its vision is “Improving Health Worldwide.” It stands to empower physicians of Indian origin to achieve highest professional standards, to provide affordable good quality healthcare, to contribute to local and regional community development and thereby help to reduce health inequalities and alleviate suffering globally.

This substantial workforce of physicians in India is a valuable resource, which can help to mobilize significant developments in the healthcare field in India and globally, said a spokesperson. It is estimated that there are 1.2 million physicians of Indian origin working in India and other parts of the world. This strong diaspora of Indian doctors working in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, who are highly respected, need a common professional platform. GAPIO has representation from 26 countries at present. There is a need for greater visibility and cohesion of these physicians, said a spokesperson.

It has now embarked upon India’s first truly integrated comprehensive health scheme called “Total Health,” which was launched Oct. 27, 2013 at Aragonda village of Thavanampalle Mandal of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh.

GAPIO has also assisted in developing a web portal known as SwaasthIndia.com in collaboration with the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin to provide essential healthcare services at various locations in India with the help of doctors from India and overseas.

This site will act as a matchmaking portal where the Indian medical diaspora can view and apply for opportunities put up on this portal by various state governments.

R. M. Vijayakar, Special to India-West