The people residing in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries comprise of diverse ethnic, cultural, religious backgrounds and have variations in skin types from light to dark but share a common disease burden. Skin diseases, STD diseases and leprosy cases are very commonly seen in SAARC countries. South Asian Regional Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists & Leprologists (SARAD) is purely an academic forum for interchange of ideas and spread of knowledge on current Dermatology issues among the Dermatologists of SAARC countries.
Friendly chats, purposeful conversations and earnest contemplations among some of the leading dermatologists of the South Asian countries, especially when they managed to meet at international gatherings, began to sprout an idea that they should have a forum to discuss and exchange observations about dermatological disorders that are prevalent in, and sometimes peculiar to, this part of the world in keeping with the spirit and ideals of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation).
These admirable feelings led to the launch of the first South Asian Regional Conference of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (SARCD) at Kathmandu, Nepal from 1st to 4th, October 1999 by SODVELON (Society of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists of Nepal) under the able leadership of Dr.Vijaya Bahadur Rajbhandari. Dermatologists from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal attended the conference.
A meeting of all the delegates attending this meeting was called on 2, October 1999. This august assembly was chaired by Prof. Gurmohan Singh from India and all those who were present unanimously and enthusiastically agreed to form a South Asian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (SARAD) forthwith. Therefore, it was on October 2, 1999 that SARAD was born. An ad hoc executive committee was formed with Dr. V.B Rajbhandari as President, Prof. AZM Maidul Islam of Bangladesh as Vice-President and Dr. Anil K Jha of Nepal as the Secretary General. Indian Dermatology was represented on the executive committee by Dr.Subrato Malakar, Prof. Rishi Bhargava and Dr. Amarkant Jha ‘Amar’. The ad hoc executive committee met on the same day and decided to adopt the logo of the first SARCD, with seven petals of different colors representing the seven countries of the SAARC with a cross section of skin and hair and two snakes coiling around, as the official logo of SARAD. It was agreed that the registered office would be located at Kathmandu, Nepal. Prof. WDH Perera of Sri Lanka was requested to prepare a draft constitution for the nascent organization.
The second Executive Committee (EC) meeting was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 11th November 2000, during the annual conference of the Sri Lanka Association of Dermatologists (SLAD). After much deliberation, the draft constitution was approved with some modifications The essential principles of the constitution, as agreed, are:
All the official societies of the member nations of SAARC were invited to join. It was also decided to hold a SARCD every two years in the constituent countries by rotation.
Establish and promote close personal and professional relations among Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists of the SAARC countries.
Encourage common strategies towards advancement of education, care and prevention of skin diseases, leprosy and sexually transmitted diseases of the region.
Promote research and mutual exchange of knowledge and data for the benefit and care of the communities of the SAARC countries.
Represent Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology of the region in international organizations.