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#217 - 🌍 Developing Neonatal Units: The Role of Mentorship (ft Pr. Pradeep Suryawanshi)

Hello friends 👋

In this episode, Mbozu and Shelly-Ann are joined by Professor Pradeep Suryawanshi, a neonatologist, researcher and educator from Pune India. Professor Suryanwanshi discusses his journey as a neonatologist and his work in India and Australia, the process of developing a neonatal care unit and the importance of mentorship. He also discusses  factors contributing to India's progress in neonatal care, the challenges and progress in implementing surfactant therapy as well as advice on work-life balance.


Short Bio: Professor Pradeep Suryawanshi currently serves as the Head of the Department of Neonatology at BVU Medical College and as the Director of Neonatology & Pediatrics at Sahyadri Hospitals, in Pune India. . He is also a mentor at BLDE University, in Bijapur. Dr. Suryawanshi has authored 76 articles, 3 national guidelines, 16 book chapters and 7 books. He has trained over 150 neonatal fellows and has developed and mentored 34 nicus. Dr. Suryawanshi  interests are in neonatal fetal echos and point of care neonatal sonography and he has trained 390 Pediatricians from 22 countries of the world in the field of Neonatal POCUS . 

Resources mentioned in episode:

Dr. Pradeep Suryawanshi website:


The transcript of today's episode can be found below 👇

Well, hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Global Neonatal Podcast. We're happy to have you guys join us today. And Bozu, how are you doing today?

Mbozu Sipalo (00:10.557)

Good, how are you, Shillian?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (00:13.846)

Doing good, doing good. Excited about our conversation today with our guest.

Mbozu Sipalo (00:20.477)

Yes, he's got an amazing story and I'm sure our listeners would be glad to hear about it as well.

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (00:27.514)

Yes. So in the interest of time, I will just provide a brief summary of all his accomplishments. And so today we have with us Dr. Pradeep Suryawanshi. Professor Pradeep Suryawanshi currently serves as the head of the Department of Neonatology at BVU Medical College and as the Director of Neonatology and Pediatrics at Sahirdi Hospital in Pune, India.

He is also a mentor at the BLDE University in Bijapur. Dr. Suryawanshi has authored 76 articles, three national guidelines, 16 book chapters, and seven books. He's trained over 150 neonatal fellows and developed and mentored 34 NICUs. Dr. Suryawanshi's interests are in neonatal fetal echoes and point-of-care neonatal stenography, and he has trained 390 pediatricians from 22 countries of the world in the field of neonatal pocus.

Dr. Suryawanshi, welcome to the podcast.

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (00:01.942)

Pradeep, welcome to the podcast. We are so excited to have you here today.

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (00:13.586)

And you could just call us Shelly. And then pose. Perfect. Um, so let's start at the beginning of your neonatology career. Can you tell us a little bit about what prompted your decision to become a neonatologist?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (03:04.926)

I see. It's always nice to hear how everyone gets to this part of their journey. So before we get too far into talking more about neonatology, your career and neonatology in India and specifically the region where you are, let's take a little pause and can you just tell folks a little bit about your country, India, and then specifically about the region that you're from and a little bit maybe about the NICU where you work?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (06:52.322)

Thanks so much for that quick overview of that area and the NICU and I'm sure we're gonna get a little bit deeper into that as well. So you briefly touched on, you went to do fellowship in Australia. I suspect, was it at that time, was it not possible to do neonatology fellowship in India back then?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (08:28.546)

So you did fellowship in Australia and what was that like when you returned from training in Australia to Pune and to that unit? What did that look like?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (10:32.074)

So in terms of then going from level two all the way to now a training institution, and I know you've also mentored a bunch of NICUs, like you're mentored 34, you helped develop 34 NICUs. Would you say that there is a process to developing a neonatal care unit? Is it like a predictable process where you do one set of interventions and then move to the next? Or is it more nuanced and it depends on the region and things like that?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (21:40.43)

Wow, amazing. Yeah, and inspiring. I was gonna say amazing and inspiring. I will cut you off, Imbuzu. You go ahead and ask your question if you did.

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (21:55.726)

Oh, okay. Yeah, sorry. So no, what I was about to ask is, so listening to your discussion, it sounds like you started with people first. And then once the confidence was there, it was easier to start asking for the infrastructure and all the other things that, that were necessary. Am I correct in, in my takeaway of that?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (23:31.49)

So that kind of brings me to touch a little bit on India as a whole. Now, I know it's a big country with a huge population, and so I don't want to oversimplify the process. But I know you have experience with writing national guidelines and things like that. And if you look at the data, then India has made significant progress over the years when it comes to neonatal mortality and neonatal care. I know you talked a lot about the mentorship in your area, and I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. But you know...

Can you speak to some other factors? Are there any other factors that you think would have helped with that progress?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (27:40.034)

I just want to jump in and quickly ask, because you briefly mentioned about surfactant, and that is a challenge for a lot of places. How was that process to get that so now that it's, you know, like routine care? Can you speak a little bit about that?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (42:55.338)

Wow, such amazing work and amazing impact. Which brings me to our last probably question because it was getting close to the end of our time, but how do you do all of what you do? There's some that talk about work-life balance or work-life integration. How do you get all this stuff done? Any words of advice for the rest of us?

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (47:11.254)

Professor Pradeep, thank you so much. This was such a good conversation, enlightening, impactful, learned a lot. I know a lot of folks are going to be reaching out about the POCUS information and resources. And again, thank you so much for your time and for everyone else listening. We will catch you again on our next episode. Thanks so much. Bye.

Shelly-Ann Dakarai (47:43.83)

Absolutely, Your Honor.


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