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Jocalyn Clark: How to avoid predatory journals—a five point plan

19 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Jocalyn_Clark1Increasingly, I’m asked to advise and assist with the problem of predatory journals. While it’s probably only an annoying nuisance to many in the developed world, the increasing number of spam emails inviting articles and conference participation is beginning to feel like a potentially serious problem for developing world scientists and institutions. This demands action, as Richard Smith and I argue in a recent editorial in The BMJ. more…

Abhishek Bhartia: What can a hospital in India learn from a vineyard in Spain?

15 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

abhishek_bhartia

A lot, it turns out, about healthcare transformation.

A fifth generation wine producing family in Spain faced the challenge of transforming itself in the late 1990s. The family vineyard in the region of Priorat, south of Barcelona, had been losing money for many years and past attempts to turn it around had failed. One day in September 1998, when Ramon and Valenti Llagostera, two brothers from the family, were on the wine estate helping with harvesting, one of the brothers tasted some of the grapes and was struck by how good they were. He asked, “What if we only produced the best grapes and sold a high quality wine?” more…

Sandesh Kotte: Reviving the public health system in Telangana, India

13 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

sandeshThe first budget for India’s newly formed state, Telangana, was presented amid a lot of hype and media attention. A cursory look at the budget shows that the allocations reflect the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) party’s promises made in their election manifesto. From the waiver of farm loans, to creating a drinking water grid, to making Telangana state the “seed bowl” of India by developing seed chains, all were part of the party manifesto. more…

Shinjini Mondal: Reframing the challenge of urban slums from Cape Town to Mumbai and beyond

9 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Shinjini_MondalRecently, I had the opportunity to visit South Africa and learn about the health system in Cape Town and the health issues of Khayelitsha, an informal (and notorious) township in Cape Town. I was part of the 2014 Emerging Voices for Global Health group of young health systems researchers, who were attending the third Global Health Symposium on Health Systems Research in Cape Town.

We were given a brief but thought provoking presentation on the numerous challenges in these informal settlements, which was followed by a visit to Khayelitsha. Our tour guide, a self-declared “experience expert” of the settlement, “entertained” us with lively stories about his past in a local gang and by detailing what life was really like in a tough place such as Khayelitsha; for example, for kids trying to go to school. We learnt a great deal from his insights, in a way that dry statistics and figures can never achieve. more…

Aditya J Nanavati: Are Indian medical students pessimistic about participating in research?

7 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Aditya J NanavatiI recently completed my residency in general surgery. Towards the end of my residency, I was introduced to the world of research and publishing. Far from knowing it all, the more I explore this world, the more I realize that I should have been introduced to it much earlier.

I believe I speak for the average medical student in India when I say that the world of research publishing is something that we are overawed by. It is assumed that only great physicians can participate in and publish their research. I can say with sufficient confidence that rarely will you meet medical students who imagine they can do the same someday. It is looked upon as an elite club where entry is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Why is this so? more…

Bheemaray Manganavar: Re-imagining the response to non-communicable diseases in India

30 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

bheemarayIt was just another day at the primary health centre (PHC) that I work closely with in the south Indian state of Karnataka. I was in the pharmacy of the PHC, discussing the availability of medicines for diabetes and hypertension with the pharmacist.

Meanwhile, an elderly woman arrived at the dispensary window along with a small diary. She had come for her monthly refill of anti-diabetic medicines. She passed her book through the window to get her monthly supply of medicines. The pharmacist returned her diary. “These medicines have not been available for a month, buy them at the private pharmacy outside,” he said. more…

Chris Baker: Bollywood stars should not endorse food of low nutritional quality—but a ban is not the solution

19 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

chris_bakerIn India, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children aged 5-19 stands at 22%. Tackling this substantial and growing epidemic requires a population level shift away from poor diets and sedentary activity. Such a shift will be more effective if individual lifestyle change is accompanied by upstream modifications that create healthy environments.

Sadly, aspirational advertising is omnipresent in India, and succeeds in creating an appetite for junk food. Household names from Bollywood and the cricket field are frequently employed to attach a sheen of glamour and success to cheap foodstuffs high in fat, sugar, or salt, and low in minerals and vitamins. more…

Shreelata Rao Seshadri: Tracking India’s battle with malnutrition

18 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

For several years now, India has been sharply criticized for being one of the most undernourished nations on earth despite consistently high rates of economic growth. So the First Global Nutrition Report released recently by the International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI) provides a welcome update on the nation’s progress on key nutrition indicators. Using the Indian government’s rapid survey on children (2013-14), the authors of the Global Nutrition Report estimate that under-five stunting in India has reduced on average from 47.9% in 2005-06 to 38.8% in 2013-14. This nine percentage point reduction translates into almost 14.5 million fewer stunted children. Perhaps the World Health Assembly target of reducing under-five stunting worldwide from 162 million children in 2012 to ~100 million in 2025 is feasible after all. more…

Soumyadeep Bhaumik: Snakebite research in India—no longer so neglected

10 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

soumyadeep_bhaumik2In 2009 snakebite was added to the list of neglected diseases by the World Health Organization (WHO)—the first official recognition of it as a health problem.

But the true burden of the disease, particularly in India, came to light only in 2011 when the Million Death Study reported that there were about 46 000 deaths each year owing to snakebites. Other than a few occasional whispers in the academic corridors, and one occasion where snakebite was raised in the Indian parliament, no one was really talking about it. more…

Vaibhav Bagaria: Of God’s “own men”

5 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

Vaibhav BagariaRecently, the medical fraternity of India has been in the spotlight on various accounts. While the highest court of the country proclaimed that medical professionals were “agents of god,” and that they should not engage in striking; another high court in the country informed and “ruled” that “all of us have suffered at the hands of doctors.”

And then there was this heartrending story of how botched up sterilization procedures led to the deaths of 13 women, all of whom were operated upon by one single doctor, who has been dubbed “Dr Death” by the media. more…

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