Dr. Hrishikesh D. Pai

FOGSI President 2022

Today is a fantastic day for me. My installation has taken place on the first day of Diwali, Dhanteras. Being Diwali, I was wondering if all of you would come and attend the installation. However by coming for this function, you have demonstrated that you all love me very much, and that the power of love outweighs all other forces in life.

The story of my life begins with My father – my role model – who was a fantastic public health personality, Harvard educated, Magna cum Laude, Padma Shree, and a dedicated professor at KEM Hospital. When I finished my MBBS, I wanted to go into public health, but my father told me, “Hrishi, it’s a difficult line, people don’t respect me so much, so why don’t you opt for Gynaecology , which is a blend of medicine, surgery, mental health, and above all, the only field where you could treat two individuals simultaneously !!” I agreed to my father’s suggestion and became a Gynaecologist. Today I stand before you as President Of the Federation , a vehicle that enables me to commit myself to public health.

The last three decades have been excellent for the field, with numerous breakthroughs such as ultrasound, endoscopy, and IVF. In 1984, when I was working in KEM as Dr. ND Motashaw’s house surgeon , the first hysteroscopic workshop in India was conducted. My boss was the late, Dr. Raval, who was a fantastic human being. He was one of the pioneers in obstetric ultrasounds in the country. He asked me to join him as an ICMR fellow. During this time I did many thousands of obstetric ultrasounds . Then came the fantastic line of IVF, and I was smitten by it; eventually, I took that line, and there was no turning back. Simultaneously, there has been a lot of public health movement in the last 30 years, which has been defined by UN SDGs goals. Women’s life expectancy in India has increased from 49.7 (1975) to 70.7 (2022), Author Yuval Harari, in his book Homo Deus proposes that as science advances, our longevity will increase, and women may live to be 150 years old and remarry at the age of 75!! It’s a fresh start.

Once, when I was travelling to Coimbatore for an IVF cycle and was waiting in the lounge for the plane, I was admiring twins bothering their mother and felt bad for her, and then a woman came and touched my feet and I was surprised when she said, “Dr. Pai, I was treated by you and received these twins from you”; the immense gratitude I got from my patient was phenomenal, and the same gratitude I am experiencing today for all of you. I would also like to express my gratitude to my parents and thank them, my great mother and father, Mrs. Hema and Dr. Dutta Pai, were my teachers; my father was a freedom fighter who was imprisoned for four years, and I greatly admire and respect him. Thanks to my wife, Dr. Rishma Pai, former president of the federation and a wonderful human being. My children, Anvisha and Dr. Arnav Pai, as well as the new addition to the family, Ravi, are doing well by the grace of God. Arnav is studying Gynaecology and Anvisha is studying IT. Poonam Dhillon, my sister-in-law, is a wonderful person with a golden heart, and her two children, Paloma and Anmol, are both aspiring actors. My sister Medha and her husband, Dr. Upendra Kulkarni, a gynaecologist , have travelled all the way from the United States. I also recall my aunts Kamal & Mrinal. Dr. Nandita Palshetkar and Dr. Rohan Palshetkar, my IVF business partners and friends , I thank you. I would also like to thank my dear friend Dr. Dinesh Salgaonkar,. Ms. Ojaswini Kapoor, Dr. Shaunak Khandwala, Dr. Pooja Mehta, Dr. Sunita Arora, Mr. Ashok Ghandat, Dr. Sudesh Kamat, Dr. Shailendra Mahimkar, Ms. Vrunda Kuchekar, Dr. Parul Sharma, Mr. Nikhil Banwat and all members of my bloom IVF family. I could not have achieved all this if I had not been a member of the Mumbai OBGYN society; I will never forget them because everything I am today is due to the Mumbai society. I thank the entire FOGSI leadership, including past presidents and the secretary general. Thank you to all the government agencies. International officials Dr. Anne Kihara from FIGO, Dame Lesley Regan from FIGO, Dr. Rohana Haththotuwa from SAFOG, and Dr. Ferdousi Begum from SAFOG. The most important two people in my life today are President Dr. S Shantha Kumari and Secretary General Dr. Madhuri Patel; without them, I wouldn’t be able to move forward .Thanks to Dr. P. C. Mahapatra, Dr. Hara Pattanaik, Dr. Hema Divakar, Dr. Pratap Kumar, Dr. D K Dutta, Dr. Maninder Ahuja, Dr. Jayam Kannan, Dr. Vineet Mishra, Dr. Sanjay Patel, Dr. Mahesh Gupta, Dr. Sunita Tandulwadkar, Dr. Bhaskar Pal, & all my well-wishers: Greetings to Mr. Manoj Bajpayee, Mr. Anu Malik, Mr. Talat Aziz, Mr. Anand Narasimhan, Mr. Rajesh Khattar, Mr. Satish Kaushik.

Thanks to Dr. Sunita Tandulwadkar for the wonderful newsletter, Dr. Ashish Kale and Dr. Mala Arora for the first two FOGSI publications of the year, and to all 38,000 members spread across 263 societies.

Thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes. Your love, affection, and support have enabled me to advance to positions of leadership in a variety of national and international organisations, including ISAR, IAGE, IFFS, ASRM, ESHRE, and now FIGO and FOGSI.

Leadership is one of the most important aspects of success . It is primarily driven by Hierarchical collectivism . If you want to successfully lead an organisation, you must have a hierarchy, which runs the organisation in a collective fashion. One must be inclusive, have continuity in ones actions & consolidate what has been accomplished in the past and present. Strategic planning for the future is very important. I always tell people about the leadership mantras that I have used in my career, & I best illustrate this by giving examples of leaders from the past & present. The most important mantra of leadership is passion. Kurt Semm and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam are good examples. I earned my master’s degree from Jones Institute at the age of 56; it was difficult, but I was driven to succeed. Life has power, juice, and meaning because of passion. Without passion, there is no greatness. Passion drives people to stay up late and get up early in order to be great. It was passion that drove a French colposcopy doctor to remove the gall bladder through the vagina. The second mantra of leadership is “Belief,” with Mahatma Gandhi and Elon Musk serving as prime examples. The third mantra is Strategy . Alexander the Great was a fantastic strategist, as was our own General who won the 1971 Indo Pak war, Sam Manekshaw. The fourth mantra is Clarity of values. This is very critical, and Swami Vivekananda and Atal Bihari Vajpayee are wonderful examples of this trait . The fifth mantra is Energy which is crucial, and who better to showcase it than our current Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, as well as, our late Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi. The sixth mantra is Bonding power ; Nelson Mandela and Mahendra Singh Dhoni as great examples of this . The seventh mantra is Communication , best represented by Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and our own Dr Deepak Chopra . I’ve added a few more mantras , one of which is Loyalty. I will give my life rather than change my loyalty, Indian Army is one such thing that is loyal to the nation. Finally the most important mantra is having “Empathy and Kindness” towards your patients and colleagues .Mother Teresa is a good example of it . I feel that “If we can succeed without hurting our colleagues, we can savour our success.” Being kind is the most important aspect of success to me,” .The great William Penn said, “I shall only pass through this world once.” So, whatever good I can do or kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now…because I will not pass this way again.”

All of the above is implemented by Team FOGSI; obviously, resources and a team are required to maintain and grow this palace dedicated to women’s health. FOGSI’s office bearers include Secretary General Dr. Madhuri Patel, Incoming President Dr. Jaydeep Tank, and Vice Presidents Dr. Alka Pandey, Dr. Asha Baxi, Dr. Geetendra Sharma, Dr. Sampath Kumari, and Dr. Yashodhra Pradeep. They are supported by Dr. Suvarna Khadilkar( deputy secretary general), Dr. Parikshit Tank (treasurer), Dr. Niranjan Chavan (joint treasurer), Dr. Manisha Takhtani ( joint clinical secretary) , Dr. Laxmi Shirkhande (ICOG chair), and JOGI Editor , Dr. Geetha Balsarkar . The 28 committee Chairs are my cabinet minister, and they are very important to me. National coordinators, Zonal coordinators, Task Force, Youngistan, and Volunteers have all been added. Dr. Rishma Pai and Dr. Nandita Palshetkar , both of whom are past presidents of FOGSI , are my national coordinators. My zonal coordinators are Drs. Ameya purandare , Komal Chavan, Rohan Palshetkar , Shrutika Thakkar, Arnav Pai, Aparna, Anu chawla , Vinita singh , Indarneel Datta , Jayrani Kamraj , and Selva Priya. I have instituted new temporary groups called , the “Presidential Task Force” and the “Youth Group,” . Let us hope these groups perform well , so that they can be continued by the incoming president Dr. Jaydeep Tank.

I believe the federation has five important pillars namely : academics, CSR, fellowship, advocacy, and research,. Fellowship, I believe, is the thread that binds us all together. In 1844, Alexander Duma published “Three Musketeers whose theme was “Omnes pro uno, Unus pro omnibus,” which translates as “all for one, one for all.”.” Among the six important things, I believe fellowship is a critical component of our organisation . It is the foundation upon which the entire organisation is built. If you get a call at 2 a.m. in the middle of the night asking for help and then run for helping your friend , that is the power of fellowship. All work and no play makes Jack obviously a dull boy, so fun filled fellowship is also very important, and we have many tools for that, such as FOGSI’s Talent 2.0 ,FOGSI luminary /achievers & Appreciation Awards for leaders and members of FOGSI , Ms/Mr. FOGSI Pageant, and FOGSI Sports Competition.

Advocacy by FOGSI is one of the most critical pillars of the association. When I returned to India in 1991, I was travelling in Deccan Queen train, for delivering a talk at Pune Gynecological Society’s conference. I was sitting next to a man ,to whom I asked what does he do, to which he replied, “I am a businessman.” When he asked me about myself, I said “I have just started a sperm bank and am going to give a talk on the same subject ,to the Pune society”. To that, he asked me, “What is the interest rate in your bank?” Though amusing, such misconceptions must be dispelled. Hence, advocacy amongst people, doctors & colleagues, using community-based tools such as TV, radio, print, and social media, and endorsements from doctors, politicians, celebrities, and civil society, is essential.

There will be four Zonal Conferences with Yuva at Kota-Ranthambhore, Varanasi, Imphal and Calicut. There are five academic conferences led by Vice Presidents at Kodaikanal, Indore, Ahmedabad, Patna & Lucknow. There are many speciality conferences and international conferences as well. One of them being India Day, which we started during Dr. Rishma Pai’s tenure. We went to the United Kingdom for India Day, and we are going to repeat it on June 28th 2023. We hope that all of you will come in large numbers. The other conference is FOGSI FIGO Night and FIGO Conference in Paris in 2023, where Dr. Anne Kihara will take over as President of FIGO. We have also received many book proposals, the first of which was released today. We also have planned to publish many Good Clinical Practice Recommendations, nearly 30 in total. The game changer is Digitalisation – Platforms such as Google and Facebook have enabled us to rapidly escalate and do a variety of things that would have normally required many physical meetings . We are also going to plan many FOGSI Focuses as well.

Instead of telling people what they “need “ to do, I asked them what they “want” to do. The response has been overwhelming, with over 26 colleagues volunteering to help. Integrated FOGSI CMEs will also be plentiful, as will initiatives such as FOGSI Udaan Initiative USAID by Dr. Jaydeep Tank, Prematurity Project SAMVEG USAID/IAP by Dr. Jaydeep Tank, FOGSI Initiative for Saving the Uterus by Dr. Rishma Pai, FOGSI Initiative for Saving the Ovary by Dr. Nandita Palshetkar, FOGSI Initiative for Reducing Maternal Mortality Rate by Dr. D K Dutta, FOGSI Well Woman Initiative by Dr. Hema Divakar, FOGSI Adult Vaccination initiative by Dr. Jayam Kannan, FOGSI NCD Project by Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, FOGSI HDU Initiative by Dr. Alpesh Gandhi and FOGSI Youth Endoscopy training by Dr. Prakash Trivedi / Dr. Alka Kriplani. One of the very crucial proposed initiatives is about how to reduce caesarean birth, which I have reworded as “FOGSI Initiative to Increase Safe & Respectful Vaginal Birth” by Dr. Pratima Mittal / Dr Achla Batra”. We also have other initiatives such as FOGSI Youth Mela by Dr. Suchitra Pandit, FOGSI Research Program by Dr. Sanjay Gupte, FOGSI Advocacy on Social Media, Television & Radio by Dr. Suvarna Khadilkar / Dr. Selvapriya Sarvanan, FOGSI Celebration of Special Days & Health Days by Dr. Priyankur Roy / Dr. Rohan Palshetkar / Dr. Anu Chawla / Dr. Shrutika Thakkar, FOGSI Collaborations by Dr. Maninder Ahuja, Plant One Tree for Every 1000 Births initiative Dr. Kalyan Barmade, Cancer Cervix Prevention by Dr. Niranjan Chavan, Promotion of Mental Health and Well-being in Doctors and Patients by Dr. Parikshit Tank.

When Rishma and I had gone to Israel, a taxi driver told us that there is one tree planted for every birth in Israel, and a certificate is given to say that “This is your tree and you shall take care of it,” since Israel is a barren land and trees are very important. So, I told Dr. Kalyan that we would do the same for every 1000 births.

“CSR” is the most important aspect of my final presentation to you. My family was middle-class, and my father, a professor, did not have much money. Since I wanted to be a doctor, I had to study 18 hours a day, and the State helped me by paying for it. The State is responsible for my entire career. No amount of charity will ever pay off the debt I owe to my country. I am so grateful to my State and I want to give back to the society. Mr. Om Prakash, a well-known sand artist, will walk us through what I have planned for the CSR. We are celebrating 75 years of independence this year. We have made great strides: built roads, gone to space, and so on. Two hundred crore Covid vaccinations have been administered, and there have been numerous other developments. FOGSI, an organisation of 37,000 gynaecologists, is working on this to improve women’s health in its 61st year. Swasth Nari, Sukhi Nari is the FOGSI theme for this year. Badlaav’s CSR campaign is defined by Ekikaran – Integration, Samanta – Equality, Takniki – Technology. Badlaav initiative areas include: teen and adult vaccination programmes, gender equality and women’s empowerment, improved and respectful maternity care (Manyata), sexual and reproductive health (contraception and family planning), preventive health check-ups for women, anaemia prevention, NCDs for non-pregnant women, cancer prevention and treatment, mental health, mid-life and menopause. Eighteenth of every month, many volunteers at our Badlaav Clinics will perform free health checks on non-pregnant women in their consulting room. During my tenure as Secretary General of the Federation in 2016, FOGSI along with Indian Medical association, launched the Pradhan Mantri Surkhashit Matriv Abhiyan(PMSMA) on the 9th of every month. I wish to establish this Badlaav as a Pradhan Mantri Badlaav Program, on 18 th of every month. I am hoping that this can happen. The logo image depicts multiple languages as well as the colors pink and green for health and yellow for happiness. The Nari Swasthya Janandolan Yatra is one of the starting points and an important part of this Badlaav campaign. The Na Na Anaemia Bus Yatra by Procter & Gamble, as informed by Karishma ji, is to support the Federation and we are going to have this National Ride which is going to cover the 25 states. It is a huge daunting task, and it’s my inner journey and stemmed from my inner self and I along with many of you, will do that journey starting from Rishikesh Uttarakhand, crossing Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and ending in January in Kolkata during the AICOG. I will end my speech by quoting the great poet Robert Frost , and I quote

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep…”

Dr Hrishikesh Pai
President FOGSI