New Delhi, May 28 2016: “Public health is an area where both the Indian government and non-governmental organisations are playing a vital role in pushing for better care for patients. Increasingly, effective models of patient care and operational research are coming out of such collaborations and MSF Scientific Day South Asia will attempt to throw light on some of these issues “, said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research.
Dr Swaminathan was speaking at MSF Scientific Day South Asia, a conference organised by the medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) India. The conference, now in its second year, brings together field research on public health challenges confronting South Asia with a view to improving patient care, particularly for vulnerable and excluded communities in India and South Asia. MSF has been organising Scientific Days already for twelve years in the United Kingdom. Recently it started the same conference in South Asia and South Africa.
This year the conference in Delhi featured research from India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan on topics as varied as drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), hepatitis C, febrile illnesses and HIV. In total twelve studies were presented by experts. Among the studies presented from India were an analysis of the new anti-tuberculosis drugs for patients with complex drug-resistant tuberculosis in Mumbai and a survey on depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms in the Kashmir Valley.
The event saw the participation and support of reputed institutes such as the National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases (NITRD), India; Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER); London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK; and BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Nepal, among others.
Stigma emerged as an undercurrent in the research presented at the conference this year. From assessing attitudes towards sexual reproductive health, to treatment of drug-addicted hepatitis C patients and depression among people living under the constant cloud of conflict, stigma kept reappearing.
Speaking on the day of the event, Martin Sloot, General Director, MSF India said “While there are huge hurdles to jump and we are only scratching at the surface of unaddressed health issues, it is a positive sign that such ‘taboo’ topics are being researched and discussed.”
“With patient care at the forefront of our work, we hope that this day once again serves as a synergic platform through which analysis and debate can improve and further develop the current medical standards and practices,” he added.
For more details and interview requests, please contact:
Vishakh Unnikrishnan, Press Officer, MSF India
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Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid in more than 65 countries. MSF has worked in India since 1999, and currently runs projects in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur, Telangana and West Bengal. MSF was awarded the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development in 1996 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. For more information log onto www.msfindia.in