Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The health of the health research in India is not good: Dr MS Valiathan says India needs to produce more medical research papers

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Dr MS Valiathan, eminent surgeon and national
research professor, Manipal University, has regretted that Independent
India had failed to come out with any new ”knowledge, product or
process” that had improved the health care of people in the country.

Addressing a group of scientists and researchers at the annual
convention of the Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences here on Friday,
Dr Valiathan said medical research in India did not produce new
technologies in the last several decades. The private sector, on the
other hand, had been successful in providing cheap and effective
vaccines, and technologies like iodization of salt.

Much of the medical research including on malaria, kala azar and
cholera was done during the British India. Describing the health
status of medical research in India as “feels healthy but diseases
latent”, he said of the Rs 1,20,000 crore allocated during the 11th
five-year plan, a whopping Rs 40,000 crore remained unspent.

“Majority of the 18,000 medical research papers published in independent India had appeared in low impact journals. Only 80 research papers on medicine appeared in high impact journals, that too published by non-medical institutions,” Dr Valiathan pointed out.

He said topics of medical research carried out in the country did not
correlate with diseases identified as high priority by the
epidemiological data of the union ministry of health.

As many as 180 of the 300 and odd medical colleges in the country never published a research paper in five years.

There is no collaborative research among medical colleges even within a city, he said adding that medical research is driven by the urge to publish in high impact journals even if the research has little relevance for India.

Dr Valiathan said the major tasks ahead for the country include
fighting emerging and re-emerging infections and  rise in
non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and
compulsory promotion of research in medical colleges.

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