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Samrakshan: A program for every pregnant woman in India

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Vampa Ankrur is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about nothing and everything. The Journal of Fetal Radiology is pleased to share excerpts from a free-flowing conversation that Ankrur had with Dr. Rijo Mathew Choorakuttil, National Coordinator for Samrakshan, which is an Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) program to reduce avoidable deaths of babies during pregnancy and soon after childbirth in India.

VA: Good morning, Doctor and thank you for the opportunity to have a sit down with you. We know you do wear a lot of organizational and academic hats in Indian Radiology, this time let us focus on your latest responsibility. 

RM: Good morning. My pleasure.

VA: I understand you are coordinating the Samrakshan program. Can you tell us more about this program?

RM: Samrakshan is a national program of IRIA that aims to reach every district in India to reduce avoidable deaths in pregnant women or babies during pregnancy. Samrakshan is a program that aims to use the skill sets of Radiologists in India to provide optimal care for pregnant women and fetuses in India. Radiologists are uniquely placed to help. They have been trained over a period of a minimum of 3 years in various modalities to diagnose fetal well-being, including ultrasound studies, use of CT and MRI, use of Doppler, Fetal Echo and exposure to ultrasound guided interventions. The training is comprehensive and includes an understanding of medical physics, instrumentation and anatomy. Radiologists can identify problems early and work with other members of the pregnancy care team for a safe delivery. However, for some reason, radiologists are not included in conversations around pregnancy care. Samrakshan aims to fill this gap.

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Dr Praveen Nirmalan

Written by Dr Praveen Nirmalan

Dr. Nirmalan did his basic medical education from Thrissur, Kerala and followed it with a PG Diploma in Ophthalmology from Aravind Eye Care System, Madurai and a Vitreo-retinal Fellowship from Mumbai. Subsequently, he completed his MPH and a Public Health Ophthalmology Fellowship from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the USA. He has led community-based and clinical research in some of the top eye care institutes of India and led a clinical research program at a top tier obstetric and neonate institute as well. He has experience chairing Ethics Committees and has helped with the setting up of Institutional Review Boards. Besides mentoring clinical faculty, he has mentored DNB and PhD students through their dissertation work and research methods.

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Journal of Fetal Radiology

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