New Delhi: Dr Neelam Mohan, a pioneering doctor of paediatric hepatology and liver transplantation in India, has been conferred with the prestigious Dr B C Roy National Award for her contribution in the development of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and liver transplantation.
Dr Mohan received the award from President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on July 1. The award is given by the Medical Council of India (MCI) to recognise the merit of an eminent doctor for his/her contribution in the field of medicine.
On being asked how she felt after receiving the national award, Dr Neelam Mohan told India Medical Times, “Of course, it’s a very good feeling. I know though it’s written in the Gita (The Bhagavad Gita) that ‘Karm Kiye Ja, Fal Ki Chinta Mat Kar’. (Do your duty without expecting any return.) But all of us being human, love to be appreciated and reciprocated for what we do. And the way I am passionate and working to develop this field for over the years… It doesn’t come easily, the challenges and compromise that you made; you end up working all the time and the sacrifice that you make at work. So, at the end of the day when your colleagues and your fraternity, that’s the Medical Council, when they respect and appreciate, it’s a very good feeling.”
She further said, “When you are appreciated, you want to work and perform more. It’s not like I have received my lifetime achievement award; there is a lot for me to work. And like Robert Frost said, there is miles to go. I feel great that I have achieved but at the same time I feel ‘O My God, I really need to work much more. I want to do much more for the medical community and for my patients. I feel that there is God in my every patient.”
“I think when you are passionate about your work, you enjoy doing it so much it doesn’t pain you and ache you much. Even if you work for 14 hours, you would not feel tired and somewhere down the line I had that confidence in me that I can do that. I got that confidence in me from my parents; that has kept me going. I believe the more you give to the people, the more you get,” she added.
Dr Neelam Mohan is a pioneer in setting up a successful paediatric liver transplant programme, the first in India, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), New Delhi and then at Medanta, The Medicity hospital, Gurgaon. She is credited with establishing the busiest paediatric liver transplant programme in the country with more than 200 liver transplants in children.
She is considered as India’s first doctor to start therapeutic endoscopic work in newborns and young infants. She is also credited with establishing the country’s first one-year fellowship in paediatric gastroenterology, certified by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics and subsequently two-year fellowship programme in paediatric gastroenterology certified by the National Board of Examinations (NBE).
She is currently director, department of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and liver transplantation at Medanta, The Medicity hospital, Gurgaon. This was the first such department in the country established by her in July 2010 to offer dedicated services to children ranging from basic gastrointestinal care to liver transplantation, according to a statement by the Medanta hospital.
She has been invited as faculty for more than 600 presentations, lectures, oration, key note address in conference in various Indian cities and outside India, e.g. UK, USA, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Dhaka, Saudi Arabia, Istanbul, Israel, Poland, Taiwan, Dubai, Kenya, Japan, China among others. She has over 200 publications and has been among the experts writing international and national guidelines in paediatric hepatology.
She was recently elected as secretary and president elect of the Commonwealth Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (CAPGAN), the first Indian to hold the coveted position. She has been the founder secretary of the Indian Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ISPGHAN). Besides, significant clinical and academic achievements, she has been regular in her contribution to society through awareness seminars for schools and colleges and health camps.
Dr Neelam Mohan has been honoured with ZEE Swastha Bharat Samman Award 2012 by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, and has received several awards such as DMA Centenary Award- 2014 by Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for her contribution in the field of child health, SGRH Alumni Award by chairman of the hospital for appreciation to her services to the medical profession and community – 2014, DMA – Vishisht Chikitsa Ratan Award by Delhi Medical Association by Governor of Delhi – 2012, Distinguished Service Award – 2007 by the Indian Medical Association (Academy of Medical Specialties) for her contribution and achievements in liver transplantation, among others.
by Pooja Pandey