The Department of Pediatrics in the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital was established as a teaching unit in the 1950s. Since then the department has advanced in high-quality patient care and management, catering to thousands of patients from all over India every year. This department has established itself in Pediatric medicine with its intensive academic curriculum and state-of-the-art medical facilities. It is a multifaceted department with well-developed sub-speciality services for children in Hematology-Oncology, Gastroenterology-Hepatology and nutrition, Neurology and Developmental Pediatrics, Intensive care, Asthma, Nephrology, Learning Disability, HIV and Cardiology. The department runs general Pediatric out-patient services daily and eight sub-specialty clinics. All these services are offered free of cost, thus catering mainly to poor and needy patients unable to afford costly medical treatment.
- 1959: The department of Pediatrics came into existence, on the 1st of April 1959. Prior to this, there was only a 50-bedded children’s ward, looked after by Dr. D.D. Vora, who was a full time physician and the then head of the department of Medicine. On 1st April 1959, Dr. VB Athavale was appointed as the acting chief and a department of Pediatrics was started under his care. The department was given 60 beds in two spacious barracks, which had served as the base hospital for military in the pre-independence era. Dr. VB Athavale was the sole faculty member, who attended OPDs, took the indoor rounds followed by post-mortem rounds. In him there was a rare combination of knowledge of Pediatrics, philosophy and spirituality. Dr. Athavale was a visionary and dreamt of the development of Pediatric sub-specialities at our institution. With his encouragement, two Pediatric sub-specialities namely Neonatology and Hematology were the first ones to be established and these have now received national and international re ognition. Dr. Athavale was also proficient in Ayurveda and Homeopathy and wrote several books on Pediatrics and Philosophy.
- 1962: Dr.C.S.Wagle, an astute clinician and excellent teacher joined the department. By then, the new hospital and OPD buildings were completed. The wards were shifted to the second floor of this building (present wards) and the OPD was shifted to the OPD building. He was responsible for nudging the municipal corporation to consider Sion Hospital for a medical college, overcoming a stiff competition from another suburban hospital in the city.
- 1967: Dr. George Coelho, MRCP (London), MRCP (Ed.) – senior most Paediatrician in the city, widely hailed as the “Father of Pediatrics” in India who had retired from JJ Hospital was given charge of the department for 2 years (1967 to 1969) to get recognition for MD (Pediatrics) and MBBS.
- 1969: After Dr. Coelho retired in 1969, Dr. Athavale was recognized as Professor of Pediatrics by Bombay University and was given charge of the department. The department was then bifurcated into 2 clinical units – one under Dr. Athavale and the other under Dr. Wagle. Dr. WK Kandoth, Dr. Radha Iyer, Dr. Sam Toddywalla, Dr. MR Lokeshwar, Dr. Armida Fernandez and Dr. Santosh Puri joined the department subsequently. In 1969, afternoon OPD department was begun and this was managed by Dr. SP Toddywalla, Dr. MR Lokeshwar and Dr. Santosh Puri.
- 1972: During the silver jubilee of the hospital, the department had 65 beds in 2 units.
- 1973: A third unit was established in Raoli camp maternity home, headed by Dr. WK Kandoth. This was later shifted to UHC, Dharavi in 1981. Dr. Kandoth was assisted by Dr. Lokeshwar and Dr. Puri in this unit.
- 1976: Dr. Lokeshwar initiated the division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Dr. Fernandez began the Neonatology division at the same time under the dynamic leadership of Dr. VB Athavale. Both these specialities bloomed into full-fledged units in due course of time. Dr Lokeshwar was an exceptional honorary consultant, often referred to as a “full-time” honorary as he would spend long hours in the institution, toiling to translate his dream of establishing the subspeciality of Pediatric Haematology-Oncology into a reality. Dr Lokeshwar was assisted by Dr. Mamta Manglani (who joined the department as an Associate Professor in 1987) in the development of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. From then on, the division progressed even faster and became a renowned speciality in the city and country. She worked hard assisting Dr. Lokeshwar in furthering the division and at present is Incharge of the division. Dr. Jayshree Mondkar assisted Dr. Fernandez in developing the Neonatology division and at present is Incharge of Neonatology.Dr. Athavale started a 16-bedded Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The Neonatal unit had separate septic and aseptic units.
- 1988: Establishment of Thalassemia day care center by Dr. Lokeshwar.
- 1990: Establishment of Human Milk Bank, the first of its kind in the country by Dr. Fernandez. Also in the same year, Diarrhea Treatment and Training Unit funded by WHO, was established by Dr. Meenakshi Mehta.
- 1992: Establishment of Childhood Asthma Services by Dr. Kalyani Raghavan
- 1993: Establishment of Division of Pediatric Nephrology by Dr. Preeti Shanbag. Also Separate isolation cubicles were set up for leukemic children in ward 21 under Dr Lokeshwar and Dr. Manglani.
- 1996: Establishment of the Learning Disability Clinic by Dr. Madhuri Kulkarni. Dr Sunil Karande assisted in the development of the clinic from 1998 onwards and was in charge after August 2008.
- 1997: Establishment of the Pediatric HIV Clinic by Dr.Mamta Manglani. This is one of the largest Pediatric ART Centres by NACO (one of the seven national centres). It is nationally as well as internationally renowned as a centre of excellence for care of children with HIV.
- 1998: Establishment of the Division of Neurology by Dr. Madhuri Kulkarni. Dr. Karande assisted in the development from 1998 onwards.
- 2010: Establishment of Pediatric Cardiology by Dr Mamta Manglani in 2010.