I take this opportunity to thank each one of you for selecting me as your President to lead this august body for 2018-19. I recognize the presence of my teachers and colleagues who have assembled here. I also acknowledge the presence of my wife Dr Raja Rajeswari, and my children Devika and Mukund who have come to witness this ceremony. I also remember my colleagues and the staff of the department of ophthalmology along with the management at MOSC Medical College Kolenchery where I spent my first decade of my career. Along with Phaco I also learnt the basics of Community Eye care and later headed a comprehensive eye care programme which gave preventive, curative and rehabilitative care to the people there. I also fondly remember my association with the late Dr KGR Nair with whom I worked for 12 years. It was KGR sir who gave me insights into managing an ophthalmic private practice.
Ophthalmology is one specialty which does the maximum number of free services both in terms of volume and value. But has anyone felt that it is appreciated accordingly by the society? This has to change and we need to make ourselves visible as a group to all people across various strata of society just like IMA or IAP. We want to connect with all the groups in society with whom the ophthalmologists and KSOS have to interact. Be it fellow ophthalmologists, PGs, Paramedics, Public or media we need to interact more. This year the KSOS team would like to adopt the slogan “Let’s connect” and work accordingly to make our presence felt among the society.
What can we do for the fellow ophthalmologists?
A couple of years back the Govt of Kerala had launched an Antibiotic Stewardship Programme involving all healthcare providers to encourage rational use of antimicrobials in infection control. KSOS was one of the stake holders and we plan to intensify that programme this year by concentrating on training the doctors and paramedics in infection control. The Infection control cell of KSOS can give technical assistance to its members in the event of a cluster endophthalmitis. The question every member of any organization will ask before joining it is “What will I get from this organisation?” I can assure you that KSOS will be with you in such an unfortunate event of a cluster endophthalmitis to provide you moral and technical support to tide over the crisis. Big Institutes will have the resources to seek professional help in all these. Small scale ophthalmic surgeons are fighting against all odds to establish their surgical practice. We will try to involve microbiologists and hospital consultants who can give suggestions in preparing a suitable disinfection protocol for their set up and in rectifying the defects in the structure and layout of the OTs. In fact KSOS had brought out a CME series on Asepsis and Infection control a few years back which was very well accepted and appreciated all over India. At this moment I would like to thank Dr Lalit Verma for his efforts to formulate guidelines for Infection Control at the National level both as the Secretary and now as the Scientific Committee chairman of AIOS. I was one of the invited panelists to draft the latest guidelines which I hope will be distributed to all AIOS members soon.
KSOS is planning to have all activities for 2018-19 to be conducted based on the theme ‘Let’s Connect’.
Any programme intended for our members, paramedics, postgraduates, public and the media like CMEs, awareness talks, outreach activities etc will all be included in this.
Connecting with the PGs
The PGs are having a dream run these days. Whether it is Govt Medical coleges or private centers running DNB courses, the PGs are exposed to all the advanced gadgets in diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. This is besides the CMEs conducted in Kerala throughout the year and the vast amount of knowledge at their fingertips through the internet. This year the KSOS is focusing on the 1st yr PGs and will hold 2-3 regional workshops for them to make their induction into the specialty as smooth as possible. These workshops would cover the basic clinical examination techniques, newer investigative modalities and soft skills like communication and the human side of patient management so that they can be made good ophthalmologists and even better human beings who can communicate well with the patients and relatives. This is in tune with the revised MBBS syllabus which is aimed at addressing the cognitive and affective domain of medical education. We will seek the help of the immense talent among the teaching fraternity in the Govt and Private sector for this. Our Scientific Committee Chairman, Dr Gopal has already charted a blueprint for this. We would also try to rope in those who had training thru the Leadership Development Programme of AIOS. We will continue to hold the PG Gold Medal examination to select the best PG among all institutes in Kerala. If possible we would also try to hold online grand rounds and case discussions.
District Ophthalmic Clubs
We have seen the worst natural calamity last August which had affected almost every Keralite directly or indirectly. We worked together as a team in delivering much needed help at all stages of the flood through our district ophthalmic clubs. Help came from neighboring States and even AIOS. Afterall Teamwork is working together even when staying apart. We saw that come true. Be it provisions, clothes, blankets, cleaning materials including bleaching powder which was in short supply after the flood, we were able to get them all at the right time. This was possible by the sincere efforts of members of DOCs. But not all District clubs are working efficiently. KSOS would like to prop up the dormant District units and support their activities by helping them conduct at least 2 CMEs in towns that are not so far listed in the KSOS CME map.
The Refractionists, Nurses and other paramedics form an important part of the Eye care pyramid. The KSOS will be holding at least 2 seminars for them on refraction and ophthalmic nursing. In future we can even think of having a subspecialty day for them during our annual conferences.
For the last few decades Ophthalmic Community Care was skewed towards free eye camps for cataract. Of late some stress has been given for screening of Glaucoma and Diabetic retinopathy. Nowadays eye care infrastructure has developed so much that cataract surgical facility is available at most of the Taluk hospitals and has become affordable to all people through various schemes from the Govt and NGOs, at least in Kerala. But there are many people who are having incurable blindness and low vision whose problems are not addressed by most of the eye care providers. Many of them can be helped to lead a useful life by LV aids. The awareness among the public about this is very poor. The Low Vision facility is available at present only in some premium Institutes in our State. It needs special training to take care of these patients and is not financially viable for a small set up. The KSOS plans to address this issue as a responsible society and launch a Low Vision Project with the help of Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai to develop infrastructure and trained people in 3 zones of Kerala. Those who need LVAs can get guidance and care from these centers. People from the lower socioeconomic strata will get the treatment at a subsidized rate. This was conceived by Dr Sreeni and Dr Radha Ramanan and will continue as one of the KSOS flagship projects. As the saying goes if you cannot do great things try to do small things in a great way and this project is our effort to do a small thing in a big way.
• The KJO is on its way to Pubmed indexation and I have full faith in the present editorial team led by Dr Bastin that it will materialize in the near future.
• The KSOS Newsletter will reach you online every 3 months and will be spruced up to make happy reading.
• We have acquired a space for KSOS in Cochin and we would set up a proper office with staff and all facilities to streamline the KSOS activities. This will help us to centralize the administration of our subordinate units and make it more efficient.
• In the last couple of years we had family meetings which were very successful. We would continue our family meetings thus connecting with our members and their families. In fact we should break away from the monotony of having only academic meetings.
Making hell out of heaven or heaven out of hell is all upto us. We the KSOS team is hell bent upon creating a better State Society, if not heaven for you, if you are enthusiastic in KSOS activities. Please note, enthusiasm is that little word which makes a big difference. Before I conclude I thank all my teachers, colleagues, patients and my well-wishers who have made me what I am today. I also thank my family for bearing with the quality time I had taken from our life for my organizational activities. But then they will have to tolerate this at least for one more year. So let’s come together, share together, work together and succeed together in connecting with all those who depend on us and to whom we are dependent. And Team KSOS 2018-19 seek your blessings and co-operation for this.
Jai Hind, Jai KSOS.