Greetings from Kerala - President's blog

Camilla writes her latest message from the 61st annual conference of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, where she has led on talks on empowering women in child health leadership roles. There's been a full day of talks on vaccines and this is a good reminder for all members to "Think measles". Plus, a spotlight from the devolved nations.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, RCPCH President

I find it incredibly humbling and rewarding to meet up with friends and colleagues from abroad. I am writing this message to you from Kochi in Kerala, India where I am attending the 61st annual conference of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. It is a huge meeting of many thousands of paediatricians from all over India and further afield – so huge that this year they are running 11 parallel all-day conference sessions. I feel very honoured to be asked to speak about empowering more women into child health leadership roles (no shortage of things to talk about there!) and to join a group discussion Looking into the crystal ball – Paediatrics 2040 which includes some great discussions on issues like AI, climate change, future trends in medical education and much more.

What I love, and find strangely comforting, is that everyone is worried about the same things, be it the global workforce crisis, the rise in children’s mental health need or climate change. And so the chance to gather and re-connect with colleagues and chew over these issues is priceless.  

Think measles

Vaccinology is always a big topic at the Indian Academy meeting – this year there’s a full day of talks on vaccines. It reminds me how much we are struggling with measles in the UK and how troubling this is when two doses of the MMR are what it takes to prevent infection. I realise you are all being bombarded with reminders about this, but the number of cases is concerning and so we just need to keep using every possible opportunity to talk about this with our patients and families. I am so delighted that we have been able to collaborate with the Royal College of General Practitioners on our ‘Think measles’ poster, so please share this with colleagues and attach it to clinic walls, whenever you get a chance.   

Our College Treasurer

This week marks an important moment at the College when our wonderful Treasurer, Liz Marder, stepped down after five years of amazing service. She has not only been a brilliant Treasurer, but led the set-up of our Climate Change Working Group which has become such a core part of College activity, as well as chairing our Nominations Committee. I have really valued Liz’s support and friendship over the last three years and am incredibly grateful to her. We are thrilled to welcome Alison Steele, whom many of you will know was previously our Child Protection Officer. It’s just fantastic to have someone of Alison’s calibre to succeed Liz!

Focus on the devolved nations

Starting on a high, we saw the Scottish United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Bill receiving Royal Assent. This is a momentous moment, as most of the new Acts' provisions will come into force this summer, they will work to legally protect children’s rights. Scotland has led the way among the nations of the UK and indeed we urge the rest of the UK to follow suit.

We also welcomed Welsh Government’s new Child Poverty Strategy and its focus on health inequalities, which has been a long-standing priority for the College. The strategy recognises that poverty is an enduring and chronic issue for many children and families in Wales and, using this new clear set of aims, our teams will continue to call on better measurement of progress so that the strategy is implemented quickly and effectively.  

In less good news, members in Northern Ireland continue to raise the impact of the ongoing constitutional uncertainty to children and young people. New legislation has been passed to extend the period to form an Executive, which has been collapsed for over two years now. Without a functioning Executive, decisions around public finances aren’t able to be made and we so desperately need this to drive improvements in health and ensure every child gets the best start in life. Read more from our Officer for Northern Ireland.

Assistant Officer for Careers

We need to think proactively about how we support each other to have long and fulfilling careers. The whole landscape of work is changing rapidly and as a College we want to be able to support colleagues over the entire career course as much as possible. There is currently an exciting opportunity for a paediatrician to shape the College’s careers support and lead workforce initiatives. This role will work alongside the workforce planning board and Officer for Workforce Planning on projects such as creating support for alternative career pathways, SAS and locally employed doctors and research into the future of the multidisciplinary team in paediatrics. [This opportunity is now closed.]

With my best wishes to you – and take care,


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