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Venkat Narayan

K M Venkat Narayan: Global non-communicable diseases—a series of reflections

30 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)—such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and poor mental health—are major and growing public health threats for all regions of the world—rich and poor, urban and rural. Left unchecked, the impact of these conditions on the health and economies of nations, families, and individuals can become devastating.

Rightly, therefore, the public health advocacy community has raised the alarm of a coming crisis through a large number of publications and high profile meetings, such as the UN high level summit on NCDs in September 2011. In the words of Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, “We must act now with a sense of urgency.” John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, also noted about NCDs: “If we don’t intervene, that [NCDs] will be calamitous. The cumulative economic output loss over the next few years could be as much as $47 trillion.”


KM Venkat Narayan: Roads in India – a fast growing death trap

22 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

Today I received a sad email about a 24 year old family friend who died in a road traffic accident in Mumbai.  Rohan Sardar skid on the road while riding his bike, suffered a head injury and, after much delay at the ill equipped, civic run Shatabdhi Hospital, was moved to Kokilabai Dhirubai Ambani Hospital where he died. His family and friends are devastated. more…

K M Venkat Narayan: Ten barriers to trans-disciplinary science

6 Aug, 12 | by BMJ Group

On August 2 I attended a stimulating and idealistic meeting on Trans-disciplinary Science for Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) and Global Health that was jointly organized by the Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network (YP-CDN). and the US Institute of Medicine (IOM).   

A large part of the motivation behind the meeting was a paper published in Global Heart in the lead-up the UN High Level Summit on NCD in September last year. The YP-CDN/IOM meeting was hosted by Emory University in Atlanta, and participants from several Universities, NGOs, and IOM attended.   more…

K M Venkat Narayan: Smoking Jordanian doctors

1 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

venkat narayan During a recent trip to Jordan a waiter at the international chain hotel I was staying at seated me at a table in the midst of several smokers. When I asked for a “no smoking” table he took me to another, still surrounded by smokers, and replaced the ashtray with a no smoking sign.  I could barely breathe and eat my sandwich to my room.  more…

K. M. Venkat Narayan: Indian diabetes census – just don’t count on it!

19 May, 10 | by BMJ

venkat narayanThe Union Health Minister of India, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad recently announced a plan to hold a diabetes census across the country. “We intend to start mandatory testing for diabetes in the age group 25-70 years across the country in the next two years. The idea is to figure out the actual number of the population that is suffering from diabetes or is likely to suffer,” said Mr. Azad. more…

K M Venkat Narayan: Health Sciences Research: Is the United States Getting Complacent?

13 Apr, 10 | by BMJ Group

venkat narayanAs the knowledge-driven, post-industrial global economy of the 21st century evolves, the role of research and training for research will become increasingly important. China seems to have heard that message. 

During a recent visit to China, I had the pleasure of interacting with investigators and doctoral students at the Institute of Nutritional Sciences (INS) of the Chinese National Academy of Sciences in Shanghai. INS is a young institution.  Established in 2003, it has already spawned twenty-one laboratories, focusing on nutritional research – spanning from diabetes to food safety. Each laboratory has a number of core investigators and several doctoral and post-doctoral students.  more…

K.M. Venkat Narayan: Diabetes: Has the Dragon trumped the Elephant?

26 Mar, 10 | by julietwalker

venkat narayan“China pips India as the world’s most diabetic nation” ran the headlines in Hindustan Times (March 26, 2010).  It almost sounded as if India’s pride had been hurt. Such a deep sense of defeat was not expressed even when China led the world winning 51 gold medals to India’s one and only in the 2008 Olympic Games! more…

K. M. Venkat Narayan: Oozing With Confidence New India Takes On Education Challenges

22 Mar, 10 | by julietwalker

venkat narayanIn general, past trends may help to reliably predict the future of simple systems. Not so with complex dynamic systems, which are hard to predict, and when it comes to complexity and dynamism, new India is hard to beat, and therefore, hard to predict.

In one of my earlier blogs (1 March, 2010), I asked whether and how India might meet the gigantic challenges of educating its very large young population (nearly 50% of India’s population is under 25 years of age) – often touted as India’s “demographic dividend” for economic growth. more…

K M Venkat Narayan: A case of well-intentioned public health reductionism?

4 Mar, 10 | by BMJ

venkat narayanThe Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released its elegantly titled report, “A Population-Based Policy and Systems Change Approach to Prevent and Control Hypertension” (Washington, DC. National Academies Press, 2010). more…

K M Venkat Narayan: India’s Emerging Demography: A Tale of Two Health Challenges

1 Mar, 10 | by julietwalker

venkat narayanGiven the sheer size and complexity of the country, it is always impossible to talk of India in any singular or modest sense.  India has the largest population of young people, and will add 220 million to her workforce by 2030.  Wouldn’t that make India a young and vibrant country? more…

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