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Vijayaprasad Gopichandran: Peer review from an author, reviewer, and editor’s perspective

14 May, 15 | by BMJ

I write this as someone who just recovered from a battle that lasted 2 years in an attempt to publish the findings of one of my research papers. Four journals and 10 sets of peer reviews later, a paper which was initially deemed unfit to publish has been accepted by a reputed, indexed, high impact journal. I want to share my experience of the peer review process from three different perspectives, as an author, a reviewer and an editor of two journals.

Peer review from the perspective of an author: more…

Mrunalini Gowda: How can researchers meet community needs?

11 May, 15 | by BMJ

M_gowdaThis blog is my reflection on regular field visits as part of the urban health action research project that I am currently working on. The field site for the project is a very poor neighbourhood of Bengaluru called K.G.Halli. This neighbourhood has families who earn their living as daily wageworkers to a few upper middle class families.

Let me give a brief overview of the project. It is an action research project which aims to improve access to quality healthcare especially for people with chronic conditions among the urban poor. As a project initiative, we identified three ladies from the same community and trained in providing awareness sessions for chronic conditions. These community health assistants have been working in the neighbourhood since 2009. They go door to door to deliver awareness sessions on diabetes and hypertension, to inform patients what the preventive measures are that the patient and the family can adopt on a daily basis, how diet plays an important role in managing their conditions, and the importance of regular medical check ups. These ladies are an important interface between the community and healthcare providers. Over the years they have become the “go-to” people to seek advice. more…

Maya Annie Elias: Tobacco control in India—more needs to be done to promote smoking cessation in India

24 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

mayaTobacco use is one of the single largest preventable causes of death and a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases. The burden of tobacco related illnesses prompted the Government of India to initiate various measures for tobacco control. India adapted the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) and passed the “Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution)” Act in 2003. The National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP) was launched in 2007-08 and it listed a wide array of regulatory activities for tobacco control, including setting up the National Regulatory Authority (NRA), state and district tobacco control programmes, public awareness campaigns, establishment of tobacco testing laboratories, prohibition of smoking in public places, prohibition of advertisement, sponsorship and promotion of tobacco products, prohibition of sale of tobacco products near educational institutions, and regulation of health warning in tobacco products packs. more…

Neel Sharma: Does the cost of using technology in medical education unfairly disadvantage developing countries?

14 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

Medical education reform has seen significant changes since the days of the Flexner report. What remains true are the rigorous entrance requirements, the scientific method of thinking, learning by doing, and the need to undertake original research (1). The advent of technology over the past decade and more has meant that learning by doing has taken on a whole new meaning. more…

Gender inequality given short shrift by India’s draft National Health Policy 2015

24 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

The Indian government’s draft National Health Policy 2015 is radical in terms of its analysis of the failures of the past. It fails, however, to translate this admission to policy prescriptions that will be gender transformative. In so far as addressing gender inequality in healthcare, the policy frames gender as an area for action under “Nirbhaya nari” (translated as fear-free woman), a program that covers sex determination and sexual violence, and which calls for these issues to be tackled through legal measures, timely health sector responses, and by working with young men. more…

A public health commentary on India’s draft National Health Policy 2015

19 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

The Indian government’s draft National Health Policy 2015 clearly articulates its goals and principles going forward, which is a laudable departure from previous policy pronouncements. It is very candid in its acceptance of the failures of past health initiatives, but does not identify the reasons for such failure. By failing to do so, the solutions pro-offered for existing problems seem to be an effort to patch over past oversights, rather than policy actions that can achieve future progress.

The policy explicitly talks of the difficulties in enhancing public expenditure on healthcare, and prefers to limit its expectations to a modest 2.5% of the GDP. But no country in the world has achieved universal health coverage with such low levels of investment in health and the policy overlooks that. No policy actions can work without appropriate fiscal allocation and this is where the policy does not meet the identified gaps in healthcare provision. more…

“Anything you get for free is not of good quality:” perceptions of generic medicines

6 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

Bhanu_prakashThe number of people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India is increasing with each passing year. The World Health Organization estimates that NCDs could account for nearly 60% of total deaths in India.

Yet, despite an increased allocation of spending on healthcare by the government in the past few years, out of pocket expenditure by patients at the point of service delivery has shown little respite. In this context, India’s role as a leading manufacturer of generic drugs could offer great potential for decreasing healthcare expenditure—by both the people and the government. more…

Praveenkumar Aivalli on the status of AYUSH doctors in the government healthcare delivery system in India

26 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

praveen_aivalliAYUSH—an acronym for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy—is a system of medicine that has been integrated into the Indian national healthcare delivery system to strengthen public health in rural India. In 2005, when the Indian government launched the national rural health mission (NRHM) to improve healthcare delivery especially for the rural population, integration of AYUSH was an important strategy that was adopted. This was done with the objective of offering treatment choice to people as well as a strategy to overcome the human resource shortage in the government health facilities. The planning and implementation of AYUSH differs across various states, depending upon the existing level of development of AYUSH services in the state and the development emphasis of the state. more…

Richard Smith: A global university for healthcare workers

24 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014WHO estimates that the world is short of 12.9 million healthcare workers, and Devi Shetty, the cardiac surgeon and chairman and founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals, thinks that radical steps are needed to provide these workers. Money for healthcare for all will come, he believes, but it cannot be achieved unless healthcare workers are available to provide the care.

India, for example, needs three million doctors and six million nurses in addition to millions of community health workers. The country needs 500 new medical colleges, and Shetty is keen that the very poorest who have “magic in their fingers and passion in the hearts” should be able to train as doctors. more…

Richard Smith: Surgeons spend their time putting a price tag on human life

24 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014Physicians and surgeons across Asia, Africa, and Latin America spend their time putting a price tag on human life, said Devi Shetty, cardiac surgeon and chairman and founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals, at the World Summit on Innovation in Heath in Doha last week. His mission is to reduce the costs of health to make healthcare available to as many people as possible. more…

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