During the British Rule, some selected members of the profession were members of the British Medical Association which had branches in India. The stalwarts of IMA ultimately succeeded in reaching an agreement with British Medical Association that they would have no branches in India and got mutually affiliated, which relationship continues even today.
In 1964, IMA helped in the organization of the world body viz. the World Medical Association and thus became its founder member through the efforts of Dr. S. C. Sen, Dr. R. V. Sathe, the then President, IMA held the chair of the President of WMA when the WMA met in New Delhi in 1962. It’s a matter of pride that another illustrious Past President of IMA Dr. A. K.N. Sinha also held the office of the WMA. The IMA has been playing an important role in the deliberations of the World Medical Association at New Delhi in 1966. Later developments, however, forced us to take decision to withdraw from World Medical Association in 1985, since the organization refused to expel South Africa despite its dismal record of racial discrimination. The Indian Medical Association after consideration of all aspects of the matter decided in February 1993 that IMA may again become a member of the World Medical Association. In pursuance of the above, 45th General Assembly of the World Medical Association at its meeting held on October 2–5, 1993 approved IMA’s membership of the WMA.
The IMA has continued to play an important role in the affairs of the Commonwealth Medical Association.
IMA has been pursuing the academic activities and continuing education of its members through its academic wings viz. IMA College of General Practitioners (IMA CGP) and the IMA Academy of Medical Specialities (IMAAMS). Through the IMA CGP which is a Founder member of the World Organization of the National Colleges and Academies, (WONCA), third Conference on General Practice was hosted by the IMA in 1968. It is a matter of pride that the first ever Fellowship of the World Organization was conferred on one of our illustrious Past Presidents, Dr. P. C. Bhatia.
Over the period of 72 years, the IMA, through its 1470 branches with a total membership of 120298 throughout the country has been rendering yeoman’s service in the field of health care deliver, disease control and eradication. Its services to the community during natural calamities like earthquakes, droughts and floods, famines and epidemics in the pre and post-Independence periods have been highly lauded. Its role and involvement in the formulation and implementation of National Health Programmes e. g. Family Welfare, Maternal and Child Health, Universal Immunization Programme, Oral Rehydration Therapy, AIDS Prevention, Control and Management etc. has been highly significant and has received recognition by the Central and state Governments and the UNICEF. The IMA and its branches have been running many community service Projects and a number of branches have established Family Welfare Clinics, Immunization Centres, Ambulance Services, Blood Banks. Polio Eradications and RCH programmes, etc. [ 3 ]