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Pune, 5 February 2021: Armed Forces Medical College, Pune organized the 69th Annual Armed Forces Medical Conference and the 59th Armed Forces Medical Research Committee (AFMRC) Meeting from 03 to 05 Feb 2021. For the first time complete AFMRC sessions were conducted on an online platform resulting in considerable savings to the Govt. The conference reached out to a wider audience from different parts of the country fostering a spirit of enquiry and research in the young researchers of Armed Forces Medical Services.

The three day conference, organized by AFMC Pune under the directions of  Surg VAdm Rajat Datta, AVSM, SM, VSM, PHS, Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS)  and supervision of Lt Gen Nardeep Naithani, PVSM, Director & Commandant AFMC, Pune, discussed a wide spectrum of professional issues concerning the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). The conference, which is the highpoint of the annual academic calendar of AFMS, was formally inaugurated by the DGAFMS.

Awards for academic excellence in post graduate and in-service training courses, Medical Journal of Armed Forces of India (MJAFI) best published paper and best reviewer awards were presented by the DGAFMS. The AFMRC projects by Col VS Chauhan, Brig VK Sharma (Retd), Col Ankur Ahuja, Col Puja Dudeja, Brig SK Roy Chowdhury were adjudged as award winning AFMRC completed projects for this year. The projects included research to correlate serum Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels with severity of depression, comparison between Propofol and Sevoflurane in BIS Targeted Anaesthesia, assessing the efficacy of Rapid Reverse Dot Blot Strip Method for Detecting 22 B-Thalassemia Mutations. Other award winning papers included designing a standard adulteration detection module and kit to check for adulteration, evaluation of 3D miniplates and conventional miniplates in the fixation of mandibular condyle fracture.

The Chief of Naval Staff Award for best research paper in Medicine & Allied subjects was presented to Brig AS Menon, Prof & HoD, Dept of Internal Medicine, AFMC for research on“The effect of vitamin D supplementation on cardio respiratory fitness and muscle strength in male adults undergoing military training”.  The Chief of Air Staff Award for best research paper in Surgery & Allied subjects was presented to Col Rakesh Dutta, Sr Adv ENT, Comd Hosp (CC) for work on “The infodemics of COVID-19 amongst healthcare professionals in India”.

A session by guest speakers of eminence was also organized during the event. Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya Limited, shared his insight on Digital Disruption of Healthcare. Dr Shailesh Shrikhande, Prof and Head, Dept of Cancer Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai discussed an important topic on Evolution of Pancreatic Surgery in India. The talks were highly enriching and well received by the delegates.

At the core of the deliberations was 59th Annual Meeting of Armed Forces Medical Research Committee (AFMRC) on 04 and 05 Feb 2021. The AFMRC provides a platform to the AFMS researchers posted all over the country to meaningfully contribute and be a valuable part of this enormous research and learning process. This year 151 new research projects were discussed. The projects were approved taking into considerationtheir relevance to the Armed Forces.

MJAFI the official publication of the Armed Forces Medical Services of India publishes high quality biomedical multispeciality research from doctors, scientists and other health care professionals across the world on a quarterly basis. This year’s MJAFI oration was delivered by Col (Dr) Ashivini Goel (Retd) on “Telemedicine in the COVID Era”.

DGAFMS congratulated the AFMS for their stellar action undertaken during COVID-19 pandemic for courage and exemplary professionalism exhibited by all. Armed Forces healthcare workers worked steadfastly at various COVID hospitals pan India and put up an excellent show. AFMS in accordance with national guidelines and in close collaboration with civil authorities rolled out its COVID vaccination campaign on 16th Jan 2021 for Armed Forces personnel all across India.

He further stated that these are exciting and dynamic times for the Armed Forces Medical Services, as we try to put a major Pandemic behind us and continue to expand our Health capabilities, as never before. The DGAFMS asserted the role and responsibilities of AFMS in the South East Asia Region and beyond. He emphasized that AFMS assets are deployed in most difficult of terrains, be it high mountains or High Seas and are fulfilling their responsibilities and challenges with utmost dedication and end clientele satisfaction. The importance of medical profession and need for updating skills with changing technologies was also reiterated to the forum. He emphasized that a good medical professional keeps himself up todate with the newer information and should strive to learn, innovate and be a part of the research which has positive outcomes for the society at large.

The session on Perspective Challenges included a talk by Brig KJ Singh, Comdt 166 MH on “Challenges in the management of a busy zonal hospital during the COVID Era”. Surg Capt Saugat Ray, Capt MS (Health), O/o DGMS ( Navy) delivered a talk on “Preparedness for the next pandemic in the Navy-all hands on Deck” .

The Armed Forces Medical Conference provides an excellent platform for deliberations in the field of Clinical Medicine, Military Medicine and Combat Medical support. The conference witnessed clinicians, researchers, academicians and medical administrators deliberate on current and emerging areas of importance in health care and preparation of a roadmap for medical research and research collaborations for Armed Forces Medical Services.