Chennai – A New Beginning

Chennai is the biggest city in South India. In years gone by, people from the other three States as well as from the rest of Tamil Nadu used to throng Madras, as it was known then, in search of opportunities. Nowadays, just as it has happened to many Western cities, Chennai too has been Bangalored.
Traces of the old world charm remain everywhere in the city. Music blaring from loudspeakers at street junctions, streams of devotees visiting temples, Tamil (the local language) all around, and the famous aroma of Madras coffee…
And did you all know that Viji’s roots lie in the language and culture of this place! Of course, now she is an International Citizen like no other.:)
The Chennai Regional Meet 2012, which took place here on 8th July was an eye-opener and a trendsetter in many ways.
This is the 10th year of GIPAP in India, and it showed. The FOM core group had all arrangements in place, without much prompting, goading, or even guidance from us. Our support was sought only in interactions with the hospital and civic authorities. They organized the event, arranged the invites, raised funds, conducted an excellent compliance panel discussion, and asked the most challenging questions of the many physicians present.
A point worthy of note here is the involvement of the physicians, especially Dr. Rejiv Rajendranath, who welcomed the gathering and stayed right through. He matched the FOM in enthusiasm from start to finish. Our big thanks are due to him and to the other physicians, Dr Venkataraman (from CI), Dr Ganapathy Ramanan, Dr Joseph Dominic, Dr Revathy Raj and Dr Vidhubala for their overwhelming support. Between them, they covered CML, GIST, Paediatrics and Clinical Couselling.
Dr. Vidhubala, clinical psychologist, quoted the story of a feuding couple to illustrate the difference between actual and expected compliance levels. In the story, the wife tells the marriage counselor that her husband takes her out only thrice a week etc… and he doesn’t care enough. Then the husband tells the same counselor how he makes time to take his wife out as many as three times a week! What more can a man offer?
It is all about the point of view. The patient might believe his/her compliance is high, but the physician’s guidelines should be the yardstick.

In statistical terms, Chennai appears to have a compliance level of 91%. How I wish it were 100%.

To provide more for the statistically minded, there were over 275 participants and 6 physicians. The venue was Adayar Cancer Institute. The meet went on at full strength from 9 AM till 4 PM. We had testimonials, a panel discussion on compliance and a Q & A session by the 6 Doctors.
But the reason I called this meet an eye-opener and trendsetter is very different from all these. It was the space we got as a result of the intense effectiveness of the organizers. The FOM team did their job so well that we (Max India team) got to do other important things.
One such special highlight of this event was our facilitating a meet, on the sidelines, between the Novartis India representative, the local Stockist (C&F) and the Financial evaluator, namely IndiaBulls, with the physician and FOM core group. Each could share their concerns and agree to understand the concerns of the others, in order to find common ground for taking the GIPAP/NOA programme forward. This was a first for any meet, and one which needs replication all across other meets.
We also got time to visit the stockist (Viji) and the clinical coordinator at Cancer Institute (Beena and Viji) in order to find ways to smooth the path of processing and delivery of supplies to recipients.
Congrats to the Chennai Super Kings (in this case the local FOM core group, and not the champion Chennai IPL cricket team) for a job well done and for the giving us the beginnings of a new format for our meets.
To sum up, what a wonderful meet! And a peek in to the future as to what an FOM meet can one day be.
Thank you for both, Chennai.

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