India – The Unknown Giant

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holz
Stuttgart, Germany
Founding Member of IGOF

India – The Unknown Giant
Listening to leaders in economy you get extremely good news about India: Number four in the list of world economics, growth rate between six and eight percent, industrial growth ten percent.

In early 2006 exports from Germany to India increased by 47% and the imports from India to 30%. This tremendous development started after 1990 when people demolished the wall between East and West Germany. This event caused radical changes in Russia, a relevant partner of India until then. Liberalization of market and trade was the new aim in India. The sleeping giant awoke. The economy is only one important relationship between Germany and India.

New techniques from Germany
Long before IGOF was founded in November 1992, some Indian and German colleagues already fostered cooperation through exchange programs of trainees and seminars. They worked with tenacity and enthusiasm for improvement and innovation in the field of trauma and orthopaedics in both countries. More than 200 Indian doctors visited our hospital in Stuttgart since 1982. We exposed then to the rapidly growing field of Osteosynthesis at a time when casting and traction were the fundamental if not the unique treatment of fractures in India. The modern school of fracture care in the German speaking countries of Europe was looked upon with suspicion. Of course it was not possible to convey the “aggressive” German techniques into Indian hospitals. But the discussion between Indian and German doctors did not only involve questions of methodology. On both sides there was a burning fire to comply with the whole program of organizing hospitals and departments for orthopaedics and trauma care. Progress could only be achieved by scientific collaboration and discussion and our personal friendship became the best basis for a successfully growing Indo-German Foundation.

From cold theatres to snowy forests
I vividly remember that we did expose our Indian guests not only to the cold atmosphere of an operative theatre with laminar air flow, but also to the rough world of snowy mountains and cold rains in our forests. At least in their memories they enjoy this wide experience which enforced our ties effectively. It is this interaction which makes an organization strong and better.

IGOF in the future

What are my future expectations for IGOF?

  • Let us foster a culture which supports innovation
  • Tie our strategy to humanity and medicine as an art
  • Build sufficient diversity in the process of advancing orthopaedics and traumatology
  • Let us involve the younger generation actively in our training and coaching concepts.

For patients I wish that IGOF members have a strong commitment and thorough knowledge of diagnostic options and treatment. That they feel responsible for a comprehensive management of the patient in critical care. We should fight for optimal care of trauma patients not only within the department but also in public forums.

The significance of science to individuals was outlined by Friedrich Schiller in 1796: “To some it is the Goddess of Heaven, to others it is the useful cow providing milk and butter”.
Let us try to find a compromise that leads to excellence in patient care.

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