Speakers discuss cutting edge psychiatry relevant to the SAARC region

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SAARC Psychiatric Federation holds it meeting in Sri Lanka
Speakers discuss cutting edge
psychiatry relevant to the SAARC region

COLOMBO: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries are a group of eight countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) which share the filial bonds of history and heritage. The SAARC psychiatric federation was formed out of the need for a common platform to give voice to the mental health needs of the people and to explore ways, on how to address them.

Conference of the SAARC Psychiatric Federation and Annual Academic Sessions of Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrist, in Colombo, held here on 13-15th October 2019, featured a rich exchange of knowledge and ideas in this international conference. The theme of the conference was, “Towards Modern Standards of Care in Psychiatry”. The scientific committee brought together a glittering array of world renowned speakers who spoke on cutting edge psychiatry relevant to the SAARC region and the world keeping with the theme of the conference.

The organizing committee comprised of Prof. Sheehan Williams, Dr Sayuri Perera, Dr Sajeewana Amarasinghe and others. The scientific committee was chaired by Dr H. Gambheera (Sri Lakna) and comprised of Prof. Golam Rabbani (Bangladesh) Prof Dr. Iqbal Afridi (Pakistan) and others.

Prof. Iqbal Afridi from Pakistan and another delegate being presented memento during the
SAARC Psychiatric Federation and Annual Academic Sessions of Sri Lanka College of
Psychiatrist, in Colombo, held here on 13-15th, October 2019.

The program was attended by the respective societies of SAARC region including renowned psychiatrists from India and Pakistan. The current president of British Medical Association, Dr Danesh Bogra (ex-President of RC Psychiatrist, UK and World Psychiatric Association) & Prof Russel D’Souza, Head and Chair of the Asia Pacific division of UNESCO, specially came from UK and Australia to participate in the academic gathering.

The conference was presided by the President of the SAARC Psychiatric Federation Dr (Brig) M S V K Raju and addressed by President Sri Lakna College of Psychiatrists, Prof. Dr. Shehan Williams and by Prof Dr Iqbal Afridi, President, Pakistan Psychiatric Society, Head, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural sciences JPMC, Dean JSMU, Member of Sindh Mental Health Authority on the topic of “Urgent Investment In Mental Health- The Need for SAARC Region Development” in which he emphasized on investment not just in monitory terms but investment in the form of time, effort, thinking and human resources. He also said that poor mental health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty, compromised education, gender inequality, ill health, violence, and other global challenges.

South Asia has been lagging behind in the field of mental health research, primarily due to lack of adequate economic support, physical infrastructure, poor alliance among various health agencies in the region, besides political apathy towards this problem in these countries. There is a need for a wider recognition of mental and emotional well-being, has a poor indicator of human development and it is necessary to integrate a mental health and psycho-social perspective into all development and humanitarian policies, programs and services particularly those relate to sustainable development goals.

Apart from this address Prof Dr Iqbal Afridi spoke on multiple occasions during the conference such as the inauguration ceremony, the gala Dinner and the concluding session, besides chairing two sessions on the first day after plenary sessions. He highlighted the need to improve and invest in mental health of its people so that they can enjoy work and take part in the development of their countries and lessen the economic burden of their country. In conclusion he dedicated his presentation to the lovely Sri Lankan Nation and their young cricket team appreciating their recent visit to Pakistan despite all odds. He pointed out that this will have enduring good effects for Sri Lakna in the coming years as their young squad replacing the old players won all the three matches.

Dr. Robert Mcshan talked about how Ketamine can be the next game changer in treating depression. The key note address was delivered by Prof Mohan Isaac on enhancing the quality of mental health care in South Asia and role of the government. With participation of such Renowned Psychiatrists and exchange of important ideas the conference ended on a positive note and departed to their respective countries with hope and happiness after the SAARC conference.