Connect with us

Headlines of The Day

Former WHO CS flags India’s insufficient progress in medical research

Soumya Swaminathan, Chairman of MSSRF and former Chief Scientist of the WHO, highlighted the insufficient progress of India in medical research despite possessing all the necessary ingredients. She emphasized the need to cultivate interest in this field beginning from the school level.

“I believe that to foster more interest in medical research in our country, exposure and training in research should begin in schools, and children need to be genuinely excited about it. We must ignite this passion at a young age, or else it becomes very challenging,” she pointed out during a discussion on the book “At the Wheel of Research,” an exclusive biography of Soumya Swaminathan authored by Anuradha Mascarenhas.

Lagging behind
While acknowledging some improvements, Swaminathan noted that they are not sufficient. Despite India’s abundance of clinical resources, excellent physicians, and top-notch hospitals, the country lags behind in medical research compared to leading nations. “This is probably a challenge across all disciplines, not just in medicine. We also need more interdisciplinary research. Many private universities are entering these fields, but greater efforts are needed, beginning from schools and colleges,” she added.

Even though the budget for health research has increased, it remains a small fraction of the total health budget, which itself is only 1 per cent of the GDP in the country. This level of investment is inadequate considering the complexities of the health challenges we face. Currently, the majority of health research investment comes from the government, with very little contribution from the private sector, she said.

However, it was only during Covid, I think, for the first time, that some of our pharmaceutical companies actually engaged in serious R&D and were able to produce. Our pharmaceutical companies are mainly focused on generic manufacturing. Therefore, the technology is primarily about how to make affordable, quality drugs and vaccines, not about developing new products. But during Covid, I think they were challenged. The government also allocated funds, leading to the development of some new products in India,” said Swaminathan.

Nalini Krishnan, Founder-Director of REACH, a non-profit organization focused on Tuberculosis in India for over two decades, praised Soumya Swaminathan’s global recognition, attributing it to her effective communication during the pandemic. She highlighted Swaminathan’s calm and science-based communication amidst the chaos of misinformation, making her a respected personality worldwide. The Hindu Business Line

Copyright © 2024 Medical Buyer

error: Content is protected !!