Sunday, Jul 03, 2022

Dr Neelam Mohan: Celebrating Women’s Power as India Turns 75 Years

The celebrated Dr. Neelam Mohan, who epitomizes women power and is a strong crusader for equal opportunities for girl child and women, traces the evolution of women as India stands on the threshold of the historic 75th year of its Independence. The recipient of the prestigious Dr. B.C. National Award and towering pioneer in the field of paediatric hepatology and liver transplantation, at Medanta Medicity, Gurugram, Haryana, believes there are miles to go before women are fully emancipated!

 As a woman, can you take the readers through the kaleidoscope of evolution of women in the last 75 years?

This journey of half a century and quarter has been eventful, where women have played an equal role in the making of today’s India. Infact, on this momentous occasion of 75 year’s of India’s Independence, the dynamic women from different walks of life whether a housewife or a working professional must be saluted for their immense and selfless contribution to society and the country. I am witness to women overcoming social hurdles and bias to make a mark for themselves in diverse fields scripting the success story of the nation. Inherently, the nature of women has been that of nurturing humankind and the Indian women has done it with a lot of gusto and aplomb. Let us celebrate such women.

In the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, women from the Indian contingent have brought glory to the nation. How do you feel about their victory on a global platform?

I was thrilled when woman wrestler Saikhom Mirabai Chanu opened the medal account at the international sporting event by bagging a silver followed by badminton ace P.V. Sindhu and pugilist Lovlina Borgohain making the nation proud. Even as the nation rejoices, the lessons for all of us is to understand the tremendous amount of hardwork, discipline and determination that they have invested in training for years under the keen observation of their coaches to participate in this event. It also underlines the toughness under the soft veneer that a woman’s physical and emotional constitution is made up of. When it comes to deliver her part, she is at par with men in any competitive field. But a word of caution, women must not neglect their health, which they are guilty of by placing family before self. A woman-she is grit, she is compassion, she is sacrificing and she is fiercely assertive!

Could you share about the inspiration behind your being an achiever par excellence?

When I started my education, the society was still conservative and biased against women, sneering if she stretched boundaries to succeed. I was extremely fortunate to have my mentor, guide, motivator, friend and a lot more in my father. I never looked back doing excellently in academics and as a professional. I am eternally grateful to God, my parents, husband, family and my mentors for who I am today- an astute clinician, academician, teacher, publisher, motivational leader, administrator and social worker. The recently published book “Lady Doctors: The Untold Stories of India’s First Women in Medicine” authored by Kavitha Rao, is a rage and truly captures the struggles of women medical professionals.

Could you share about your ‘Doctor on Wheels’ initiative?

When the Covid pandemic struck, I was desperate to reach out to help people in remote areas of rural India, where healthcare is rudimentary. The concept and initiative of “Doctor on Wheels,” emerged aiming at screening people in villages. As clinical advisor to start-up venture-DoctCo, my role was defining in identifying the area to work in and charting the course for achieving the goal for Swastha Gaon tak, Swastha Ghar tak!   We also saw an opportunity to expand our services to all the major non-communicable diseases i.e., Diabetes, BP, heart, lungs, etc., which are life threatening and require life-long treatment. I feel proud to say that over 160+ villages have been covered so far and our target is on starting several such buses.

How has the medical profession progressed in the last 75 years in the country?

The medical profession has indeed progressed remarkably in the past few decades. More so in the last two decades which has seen the medical profession making path breaking advancements in surgeries and drugs with technology playing a major role in improving the overall healthcare system.  As far as my role and contribution is concerned, I have been a pioneer in developing Pediatric Liver Transplant program in the country with focus on pediatric hepatology and gastroenterology. I have been instrumental in formulating several Global and National Guidelines in Pediatrics and have been National coordinator for Hepatitis B & C (IMA), Diarrhoea and Nutrition Modules (IAP) , besides I am on the advisory board of several medical bodies such as AB: PM-JAY (Arogya Bharat : Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna). It brings me tremendous joy when I use my medical skills to bring a transformative change in the society and the people who seek my help. There is a lot more that I wish to do for my country.

India@75: My three golden moments

  • H.E. Governor of Uttar Pradesh to flag off 11 new buses on 13 August, that validates my concept ‘Doctor of Wheels’ giving momentum to my vision of health for rural India.
  • My dream for a full-fledged paediatric set-up was fulfilled when Dr Naresh Trehan, CMD of Medanta Hospital, Gurugram, announced my appointment as the Head of the Paediatrics w.e.f. 16th August, 2021
  • Chosen from India as winner for the prestigious ‘Distinguished Teachers Award’, 2021 by National Board of Examinations.