In an interview with Careers360, Dr. Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council for Medical Research answers crucial questions about the status of research in the field of medicine. Read the ICMR director interview below to gather insight on medical research in India.
Careers360: In what all areas should India’s medical research focus on?
Dr. Bhargava: In India we are going to face an epidemic of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, cancer and obesity. Although the infectious diseases have not decreased fully, there has been a downward trend. But at the same time the non-communicable diseases have come up. It is a sort of double burden we are facing. So, it is important that we look at research in both these areas.
Careers360: What is the scope of research in public health sector?
Dr. Bhargava: It is an area to be developed and is being developed. The problem of disease is immense and the role of these institutions is also immense in the field as well as in the villages and in the primary health centres.
Careers360: What is the status of research in the private sector?
Dr. Bhargava: If you look at the private sector hospitals and all the chains, the research is not that much in the forefront, but I think the private sector hospitals have matured and are looking at research and trying to develop research areas, particularly many of them in the larger cities are trying to develop themselves. I do feel that research will have to be conducted there as well.
Careers360: Do you think students should opt for research?
Dr. Bhargava: The need is immense and if they don’t have the fire in their belly, it has to be ignited so that they are committed to research and ask scientific questions.
Careers360: What is the scope of research for students, especially those who have just completed their Bachelor’s?
Dr. Bhargava: I think there are certain techniques of research, whether it may be more of a collection of data or doing the same work repetitively. I think even students who have cleared their Bachelor’s and are unemployed could help in Public Health Research, field work and collection of data. Government is looking at a model of training some people in certain skills and if they are trained in certain skills, they could help in the research processes and add a lot of data, particularly in the public health sector.
Careers360: A lot of students want to go for higher studies, but are unable able to as the seats are limited. How do we go about this?
Dr. Bhargava: Many of them may not do a postgraduate degree, but they can do some research degree. ICMR and the Department of Health Research are looking at several fellowships and several grant–in-aid programs for MBBS students so that they can get a three-year fellowship or a three-year grant or a five-year fellowship or grant.
Careers360: Do you think that there should be a change in the medical education policy?
Dr. Bhargava: I think more than the change in policy, there should be a change in the mind-set, it is like people like you who should sensitize that doctors need not have a postgraduate degree but they need to have the skill. They have to have a good MBBS and once they are trained and have done a certain amount of work, they should be able to deliver.
I think there are certain techniques of research, whether it may be more of a collection of data or doing the same work repetitively. I think even students who have cleared their Bachelor’s and are unemployed could help in Public Health Research, field work and collection of data