Modi Addresses Indian American Physicians At India Independence Day Celebrations and Medical Symposium

(Tampa, FL; August 17th, 2020) “India’s not for money but for humanity. We are known to be connected with humanity,”  Prime Minister Narendra Modi told members of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and Florida Association of Physicians of Indian origin (FAPI) during a virtual India’s 74th Independence Day Celebrations and day long Medical Symposium on August 15th, 2020.

In his keynote address, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said. “During this critical times when humanity has been impacted by Corona pandemic, India has been leading the efforts to alleviate people’s sufferings by exporting necessary medicine and medical equipment to 150 countries including to the US. In addition, India is working with 16 nations around the world, helping developing human resources, training them and equipping them to meet the challenges posed by the Covid virus.”

There is a high demand for hydroxychloroquine in the international market including U.S. Responding to this need, India has exported hydroxychloroquine to several nations, including the US, Prime Minister Modi told the Physicians of Indian Origin.  “In addition, with other nations, we are working collaboratively towards developing vaccine,” he said.

Highlighting the importance of the ancient Medical Systems that originated in India, Modi said, “India has been leading in research on health and well-being from early civilization onwards. Changes in life style are occurring around world, and people have come to appreciate the benefits of Ayurveda. People are looking upto India for leadership in Medicine and holistic living. Ayurveda has become popular around the world in preventing and cure people of illnesses,” he said. In his address, he pointed “immune promoters and natural healers,” stating that import of Turmeric by the US and Europe has significantly increased in nrecent years.

Prime Minister Modi urged “more collaboration by Physicians of Indian Origin in India’s progress, manufacturing medicine and medical device. We want you to participate more actively in the mission of India in research, manufacture, pharma sector and telehealth, reaching health and well-being to rural India.” Describing that Physicians of Indian Origin are “part of the growth and progress of India,: he acknowledged the sacrifices of Indian Origin physicians, Modi said, “I want to express my sincere gratitude for being the warriors who are committed to save the lives of so many during the pandemic. Stay safe and continue to work hard and contribute to the humanity and make India shine.”

Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu greeted AAPI and FAPI members as “we are commemorating the 74th year of India’s Independence.” Pointing to how the pandemic has changed our lives, he said, “Covid has taken a toll on human lives. I congratulate AAPI and FAPI for organizing this special Medical Symposium.”

Calling the Indian American Physicians as the “real heroes” Ambassador Sandhu said “You are the real heroes who have risked your lives and have been out to assist others. “What is unique about AAPI is that you bring a global perspective to defeat the virus and serve the people. We are proud of the achievements of the 4 million Indians in the United States.” There is a widespread recognition of their contributions in the US, he added. “Indian American Physicians members have greatly contributed risking their own lives.” Expressing his deepest condolences to AAPI and the families of those Physicians, who had lost their lives, the Indian Envoy thanked AAPI for “your support to the Indian Embassy helping Indian students and others stranded here due to the pandemic. Your online Health Desk has helped many Indians in the US affected by the pandemic.”

Praising AAPI for the several charitable works in India, Ambassador Sandhu, said, “India and the US are strategic partners” and pointed to collaboration between the two nations on cutting edge medical research in healthcare sector and science. India is geared up to face the challenges and we have enhanced our capacity to test, trace and treat those affected by the virus,” the Indian Envoy said. “Although the cases in India have been on the rise, the death rate is significantly lower. And recovery rate is high. Drawing on the inherent strengths of the Indian system, we are working to develop vaccines to prevent and eradicate the pandemic,” he said.

With inexpensive medical supplies to 150 countries, India has become “a reliable partner in global supply chain of all healthcare needs.”

Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Secretary of AAPI introduced Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu as “one of the most experienced Indian diplomats on US affairs, having served in the Indian Mission in Washington DC in various capacities and at the Permanent Mission of India to United Nations, New York.” 

COVID-19 has now killed at least 775,489 people worldwide, and the U.S. ranks 10th in the world for deaths per 100,000 people (51.5), Johns Hopkins University says. As of Monday, the U.S. has the world’s highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases (5,403,361) and deaths (170,052). Worldwide, confirmed cases are now at 21,684,349.

“We’ve got to get those numbers down,” stressed Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). “If we don’t get them down, we’re going to have a really bad situation in the fall … as you get indoors and you get the complications of influenza season.” Dr. Fauxi in his address on Covid -9 and Research to combat the pandemic, provided a brief historical overview of the different viruses, their origin the recent past, including Covid that originated in China.

“Covid is the worst the world has seen since 1918 with 20 million infected and 70000 deaths in nthe US alone,” Dr. Fauci said. Drawing the attention of the physicians to the fact that the US has been the worst hit nation by the pandemnic, in comparison with Europe, Dr. Fauci referred to the pattern of responses has been different in each nation and within the US in different regions. Dr. Fauci also referred to India, faced with serious challenges. Impact varies from person to person moderate to severe including death, he said.

In his eloquent presentation, Dr. Fauci educated the physicians on Covid Virus: Physio genetic Trees; Virology of Cocid-19; Clinical Presentation/Symptoms; Manifestations of Severe Covid Disease, which are fare more than what was initially thought to be; Racial/Ethnic Inequalities among those affected by the Virus; Types of Tests administered to diagnose the virus; Treatment Modalities and the currently available drugs to treat the virus, including Remdesivir, which has proven to  have 32% faster response rate; Vaccines that are in the making, with the hope that by November/December possible results will be known for the effectiveness of the Vaccines.

Stating that 40 to 45 percent of those who are carrying the virus are are symptomatic, Dr. Fauci reminded of the Five Effective Ways: Wear a mask consistently and correctly; Avoid crowds; Stay six feet apart; Opt for the outdoors; and , Wash your hands.

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President of AAPI, said, “This year India celebrates its 74th Independence Day remembering the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters, political leaders and citizens in order to free the motherland from colonial rule.  This year, COVID-19 has eliminated the ability for spectators and celebrations.  The virtual world allows celebrations to proceed in a different manner, but this is also an opportunity to be re-inspired by the legacy of the Father of Nation.  After all, isn’t service of mankind the best way to celebrate India’s Independence?”

Dr. Rakesh K. Sharma, President, Florida Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (FAPI) welcomed the participants and speakers at the event. He seamlessly coordinated the day long event with speakers and singers from around the world. “The day long Medical Symposium was packed with 8.5 hours of CMEs, with the objectives of educating the physicians on the current standards, laws & rules on prescribing controlled substances; Identify multiple strategies for preventing medical errors; and, Describe the best strategies for managing COVID-19 patients.” Dr. Sharma said. 

Dr. Sajani Shah, Chair of AAPI’s BOT, said, “AAPI members are putting their best efforts to help our patients, especially those impacted by COVID. Several of our physicians have been affected in this pandemic. The day long workshop was a way to educate them on the current pandemic and best practice.”

Dr. Anupama Yeluru Gotimukula, President-Elect, AAPI, who will be the President of AAPI in the year 2021-22, says, “We are going through a deadly pandemic now. Our healthcare heroes are putting their lives on frontline  and working in every possible way to eradicate COVID-19, through preventive efforts, clinical, therapeutic and research trials, doing philanthropic services and many more other activities to help the community.” 

Dr. Ravi Kolli, Vice President,reminded AAPI members that thorugh organizing such events, “We are continuing to make AAPI a more dynamic and  vibrant organization playing a meaningful and relevant part in advocating health policies and practices that best serve the interests of all patients  and  promoting the  physician’s role   as  the  leaders of the  team based health care delivery.”

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI, “This is another example of our ongoing efforts to make AAPI a mainstream organization and work on issues affecting physicians including physician shortage, burnout, and credentialing, while leveraging the strength of 100,000 Indian American physcians.”

The participants were treated to an entrainment segment by Bollywood singers, including Anoop Sankar who entertained the audience with renditions in multiple Indian languages dedicating his music to the Doctors who work to save lives, especially during this pandemic. For more details, please visit: http://www.aapiusa.org

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