Treat your profession as a Vocation & not an Industry
Dr KK Aggarwal, Editor in Chief eMedinewS and IMA News in conversation with Dr Mohan Kameswaran, ENT surgeon and Founder-Director, Madras ENT Research Foundation in Chennai.
Dr Mohan Kameswaran has been honored with Dr BC Roy National Award for the year 2008 under the category of ‘Best talents in encouraging the development of specialties in different branches in Medicine’.
How does it feel being conferred one of the most prestigious awards in the medical field?
I am really quite humbled by the award but view it as an encouragement for continuing my work.
Tell us about your journey so far. What were the early challenges faced by you in your career? How did you manage to overcome them?
My journey has been quite tumultuous and challenging and punctuated with achievements and frustrations. Although I started my career as an Otolaryngologist in 1981, much of my earlier years were spent outside the country. My real journey began in 1996 when I started the first Cochlear implant program in Chennai. Being one of the pioneers in this field meant facing a lot of challenges but also gave me a rare sense of satisfaction in playing a role in changing the life of many children.
Seeing the happiness on the face of the parents, many of whom were themselves very young, when they saw their deaf child hear for the first time, was the ultimate reward for me. I sincerely believed that this technology needed to reach every nook and corner of our great country. The greatest challenges were the prohibitive cost, creating awareness and the scientific infrastructure. I put my heart and soul into achieving these goals. My team and I mentored over 50 cochlear implant centers in the country as well as in neighboring countries & the late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam honored me with the Padma Shri award in 2006.
Today India has one of the largest Cochlear implant programs in the world with several states going all out to identify and “cure” deafness at the earliest age. My own state of Tamil Nadu has been in the vanguard of this medical and social revolution and it gives me immense pleasure to see my dream getting realized in my life time.
The state of Tamil Nadu has accepted in principle a policy to create a “deafness free state” and I believe it is only a matter of time before the whole country joins this vision. I derive great satisfaction in realizing that I have played a small but significant role in achieving this vision.