Historical background of SAARC Surgical Care Society

In 1994, at the Annual meeting of the Society of Surgeons of Nepal (SSN), which was combined with the meeting of the ICS sections of the SAARCS countries, the need for a SAARC forum for surgeons to get together and share common goals, ideas, and solutions of common problems, while maximizing the enormous surgical knowledge, experience, and talent of the region was articulated.

Many surgeons from several SAARC countries decided to have next inter-country meeting with a view to forming a SAARC body, in Kandy, Sri Lanka in 1996 together with the inter-country meeting of the relevant ICS sections. It was felt that using the International College of Surgeons umbrella was not adequate and that a SAARC region organisation should develop.

This idea was given firm recognition at the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka (CSSL), Annual Academic Sessions held in Kandy in 1996, with a resolution unanimously endorsed by all the SAARC countries to form a  SAARC Surgical Care Association under the SAARC aegis (the SAARC SCS). The then CSSL President, Prof A.P.R.Aluwihare was entrusted with the task of setting this up.

Much groundwork followed. Surgical colleagues in all the SAARC countries, the SAARCS Secretariat in Nepal, and the Foreign Ministry in Sri Lanka, gave much help and encouragement to the process. Written commitment from apex surgical bodies of SAARC countries was obtained. Approval was then obtained from the various foreign ministries and finally the SAARC heads of government. The recognised body status was finalized in 2002 and the first formal SAAR SCS meeting took place in Kandy again with the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka (CSSL) meeting in 2003, when Prof C Ratnathunga was the CSSL President, at which the founder President of SAARC Surgical Care Society (SSCS) Prof A.P.R.Aluwihare handed over to the first of his successors.

At the next meeting of the SSCS in Bangladesh in 2004, the need and desire to have the head quarters in Sri Lanka was ratified and Sri Lanka was given the task of identifying land and creating the Head Quarters. The various SAARC SCS meetings thereafter confirmed this.

SSCS activity between 2004 and 2016.

According to the SSCS constitution, the presidency of the society passed on every two year, rotating within the SAARC region. During this time travel surgeons between the member countries has grown encouraged by the SSCS. Examiners for the postgraduate exams have been exchanged. Lecturers and orators have been exchanged, and trainee travel increased.

Sri Lanka has taken a lead role in organising activities of the SSCS given its neutral geopolitical location and stance. Delegates from all SAARC countries (except Afghanistan) attend the CSSL annual academic session which is usually combined with the SSCS. A oration and a symposium are held dedicated to the SSCS every year.

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