Urology in Asia – India


  • Nitin S Kekre

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[ Nitin S Kekre M.S., D.N.B. Editor]

Urological procedures are mentioned in the ancient Indian texts, most notably in the Susruta Samhita (? 600–1000 BC). A number of catheters, instruments and dilators are described along with descriptions of detailed management of urinary tract infections and urethral strictures.1 While surgeons have been practising urological surgery in India since ancient times, urology as a separate specialty came into existence towards the middle of last century. The Urological Society of India (USI) was initially constituted as the “Urology Section” of the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) in December 1961. It was soon formalized as the “Urological Society of India”. It has grown exponentially, as has the discipline of urology in India. The members, both full and associate, now number more than 2000. The 44th annual conference of the society, which we hope will continue to serve as a platform to promote urological education, research and camaraderie, will be held in Kolkata in January 2011. In an effort to encourage regional and local growth and participation, four zonal chapters have been created within the USI. In order to be more inclusive, each zonal chapter has started to organize additional continuing urological education programs, workshops and preparatory courses for community-based practitioners and young urologists-in-training.

Urology in India faces problems unique to the country. India remains a country of great diversity. Cutting-edge technology and robotics exist along with a lack of access to basic health care. Practise of urology therefore, has its own set of challenges. The number of urologists compared to the population continues to be inadequate. Efforts to train an adequate number of urologists continue. This task of patient care and teaching is shared by both public tertiary care hospitals and non-government private institutions. Many institutions of excellence now exist that offer an opportunity to both Indian and foreign doctors to undergo mentored basic and advanced training in urology in a high-volume environment.

The Indian Journal of Urology was founded in 1984 as the official English-language journal of the USI. Significant landmarks were the adoption of an open-access policy in 1996 and the indexing of the journal in PubMed in 2009. This has resulted in unprecedented growth of the journal. The submissions have increased fivefold in the last 5 years, with almost a quarter of a million visitors to our website in the past year. The current impact factor is 0.34, which is steadily improving. We also plan to introduce a supplementary video journal very soon, which will permit wider dissemination of technical skills. Workshops on medical writing and peer review are regularly organized in continuation of our endeavor to improve both the scope and the quality of the journal.

There has been a welcome collaboration between the USI, the American Urological Association (AUA), the European Association of Urology (EAU) and the Urological Association of Asia (UAA), resulting in a vibrant exchange program and many travelling fellowships. This is in addition to the current travelling fellowships available within the country. The resultant exposure and mentoring shall go a long way in grooming the next generation of academic urologists.