The SAARC Psychiatric Federation (SPF) organized its 5th Conference at Lahore on 25‐27 March 2011. SPF was launched in Lahore in 2004 and it was a great privilege for Pakistani psychiatrists to host this meeting again in the city of Lahore that was attended by more than 250 delegates from all over the country along with representatives from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, UK and Australia.
The conference was organized in collaboration with World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Zone 15 and Zone16, WPA Section on Psychiatry in Developing Countries , World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR), Asian Federation of Psychiatric Associations (AFPA), South Asian Forum on Mental Health International (SAF-I), Indo Pak Punjab Psychiatric Society, and British Pakistani Psychiatrists Association (BPPA).The meeting also enjoyed full support from the Pakistan Psychiatric Society, Indian Psychiatric Society, Sri Lankan College of Psychiatrists, Bangladesh Association of Psychiatrists, Psychiatrists Association of Nepal, Bhutan Psychiatrists Association, Iran Psychiatrists Association and was represented by their office bearers and delegates from their respective countries. The Pakistan Psychiatric Society, Fountain House and academic departments of psychiatry from all over the country participated in this meeting and took an active part in the scientific deliberations of the conference.
The theme of the meeting was "Building Bridges to provide Mental Health Care in the SAARC Region” and the conference was dedicated to the memory of the late Prof. Haroon Rashid Chaudhry who was serving as Secretary General of the SPF and President of Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS) at the time of his untimely death in October 2010.
The scientific programme included pre- and post-conference workshops on:
- Rehabilitation Psychiatry (Dr. Bilal Ahmad, UK)
- Hypnosis (Dr. M. Farrukh Hussain, UK)
- Psycho trauma (Brig. Mowadat Rana, Pakistan)
- Teaching and training in Psychiatry (Dr. Zarrin Siddiqui, Australia)
- Course for GPs (Faculty members from local Medical Colleges)
- Child Psychiatry (Dr. Shahid Munir Ahmad, UK)
One of the highlights of this conference was that no political figure was present for the inauguration or concluding sessions. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Prof. I. A. K. Tareen and the meeting was concluded by a lecture from Prof. S. Haroon Ahmad. The honour and respect that was given to these two most senior Psychiatrists was greeted by all the delegates. This made particularly the overseas delegates from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh very impressed who thought that they will take this message home and will also try to follow it.
Social functions included a gala dinner at Fountain House where the participants were briefed about the activities of this centre of excellence in rehabilitation psychiatry with of course a great tribute to the late Prof. Haroon Rashid Chaudhry.
The organisers of the 5th SPF conference would also like express their thanks to the newly elected office bearers of the SPF (Prof. Rabbani and Dr. Shehan Williams) and wish them all the best for the future SPF activities. And last but not the least, the office bearers of SAARC Psychiatric Federation and the delegates from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, UK, Afghanistan, and Australia need a lot of appreciation and thanks for making this meeting a real success.