It was towards the end of the 1990’s, that the idea of an organization focussing on Parkinson’s and Movement disorders started seeding in the mind of the eminent Neuro Physician, Dr. Bhimsen Singhal.
There existed societies in India, dealing with neurological illnesses like Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer’s disease and Stroke, but there were none actively advocating the cause of Parkinson’s. This concerned Dr. Singhal, as having had a direct patient – doctor association with them, he was moved by the plight of those afflicted by this chronic condition, along with, the long – term distress experienced by their family members. Although there had been considerable advances in the medical management of Parkinson’s, worldwide, he felt the need for a specific approach to be adopted in India for those affected. He sensed the need for creating more public awareness about this condition and establishing a common platform for fellow sufferers to bond with each other.
It was during the fourth annual meeting of the WHO Working Group for Parkinson’s in Tokyo in 2000, that he resolved to create a common public forum for people afflicted with Parkinson’s and related disorders. Thus was born The Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Society, (PDMDS) which was registered in Mumbai as an all India ‘Charity Society’ in 2001. The Governing Council of the PDMDS had an all – India representation with neurologists from Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad and, Bengaluru being a part of it.
Dr. Singhal believes that there were two highlights in the evolution of the organization.
The first was in December 2003, when PDMDS hosted the 7th World Parkinson’s Day International Symposium in Mumbai. As many as forty internationally renowned experts in Parkinson’s participated. Two parallel sessions were held on this occasion.
The first was for the benefit of neurologists from all over India, and the second program was a patient and caregiver session which was attended by over 200 people affected by Parkinson’s and their care givers. The main feature at this meeting was the launch of the Global Declaration which was signed by several leading industrialists and celebrities.
Realizing the need for a co-ordinated and consistent interaction amongst People with Parkinson’s (PwPs) and caregivers, Dr. Singhal invited Dr. Maria Barretto (formerly with UNICEF) on board to take forward his vision. This was the second defining feature.
The rest, as they say, is history. From 2004 to date, the society has grown by leaps and bounds in the variety of activities it has initiated and the number of people affected by Parkinson’s that it has reached. This has largely been due to the untiring & conscientious efforts of Dr. Barretto, now the CEO of PDMDS & her team.
Along with its team of Neurologists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists and various medical, allied medical and fitness professionals, PDMDS has extended its reach to cities other than Mumbai. It currently has a strong presence in Nashik, Pune, Goa and Bhavnagar, in addition to Mumbai. There are plans to broaden its reach to, Indore, and other cities of Gujarat. In the past few years, PDMDS has also received world – wide recognition which is evident from the many international forums it has been invited to participate in, and the knowledge partnerships which it shares with like – minded organizations worldwide.
PDMDS aims to move forward with time and continue to be a propagator opening doors to new paths.
It believes in the dictum “I MAY HAVE PARKINSON’S, BUT PARKINSON’S WILL NOT HAVE ME”; and strives towards the goal, “TOGETHER WE MOVE BETTER.”