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1.  Outcomes research resources in India: current status, need and way forward 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:518.
Despite their importance, the number of outcomes research studies conducted in India are lesser than other countries. Information about the distribution of existing outcomes research resources and relevant expertise can benefit researchers and research groups interested in conducting outcomes research studies and policy makers interested in funding outcomes research studies in India. We have reviewed the literature to identify and map resources described in outcomes research studies conducted in India.
We reviewed the following online biomedical databases: Pubmed, SCIRUS, CINAHL, and Google scholar and selected articles that met the following criteria: published in English, conducted on Indian population, providing information about outcomes research resources (databases/registries/electronic medical records/electronic healthcare records/hospital information systems) in India and articles describing outcomes research studies or epidemiological studies based on outcomes research resources. After shortlisting articles, we abstracted data into three datasets viz. 1. Resource dataset, 2. Bibliometric dataset and 3. Researcher dataset and carried out descriptive analysis.
Of the 126 articles retrieved, 119 articles were selected for inclusion in the study. The tally increased to 133 articles after a secondary search. Based on the information available in the articles, we identified a total of 91 unique research resources. We observed that most of the resources were Registries (62/91) and Databases ( 23/91) and were primarily located in Maharashtra (19/91) followed by Tamil Nadu (11/91), Chandigarh (8/91) and Kerala (7/91) States. These resources primarily collected data on Cancer (44/91), Stroke (5/91) and Diabetes (4/91). Most of these resources were Institutional (38/91) and Regional resources (35/91) located in Government owned and managed Academic Institutes/Hospitals (57/91) or Privately owned and managed non – Academic Institutes/Hospitals (14/91). Data from the Population based Cancer Registry, Mumbai was used in 41 peer reviewed publications followed by Population based Cancer Registry, Chennai (17) and Rural Cancer Registry Barshi (14). Most of the articles were published in International journals (139/193) that had an impact factor of 0–1.99 (43/91) and received an average of 0–20 citations (55/91). We identified 193 researchers who are mainly located in Maharashtra (37/193) and Tamil Nadu (24/193) states and Southern (76/193) and Western zones (47/193). They were mainly affiliated to Government owned & managed Academic Institutes /Hospitals (96/193) or privately owned and managed Academic Institutes/ Hospitals (35/193).
Given the importance of Outcomes research, relevant resources should be supported and encouraged which would help in the generation of important healthcare data that can guide health and research policy. Clarity about the distribution of outcomes research resources can facilitate future resource and funding allocation decisions for policy makers as well as help them measure research performance over time.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-518) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3804670  PMID: 24171151
Outcomes research; Research resources; India
2.  Determinants of Patient's Adherence to Hypertension Medications in a Rural Population of Kancheepuram District in Tamil Nadu, South India 
Non-communicable diseases, no longer a disease of the rich, impose a great threat in the developing nations due to demographic and epidemiological transition. This increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors is worrisome. Adherence to hypertension (HT) medication is very important for improving the quality of life and preventing complications of HT.
To study the factors determining adherence to HT medication.
Settings and Design:
A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in a rural area of Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu, with a total population of around 16,005.
Materials and Methods:
This study was carried out over a period of 6 months (February-July) using a pre-structured and validated questionnaire. All eligible participants were selected by house-to-house survey and individuals not available on three consecutive visits were excluded from the study. The questionnaire included information on demographic characteristics, lifestyle habits, adherence to HT medication, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). Caste was classified based on Tamil Nadu Public Service commission.
Statistical Analysis:
Data were entered in MS Excel and analyzed in SPSS version 16. P value <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Ethical Consideration: Informed verbal consent was obtained prior to data collection. The patient's adherence to HT medication was assessed using the Morisky 4-Item Self-Report Measure of Medication-taking Behavior [MMAS-4].
We studied 473 hypertensive patients of which 226 were males and 247 were females. The prevalence of adherence was 24.1% (n = 114) in the study population. Respondents with regular physical activity, non-smokers and non-alcoholics were more adherent to HT medication as compared with respondents with sedentary lifestyle, smoking and alcohol intake (P < 0.005). Based on health belief model, the respondents who perceived high susceptibility, severity, benefit had better adherence compared with moderate and low susceptibility, severity, benefit.
PMCID: PMC4317978  PMID: 25657510
Health belief model; hypertension; non-adherence; rural area
3.  Assessment of the scale, coverage and outcomes of the Avahan HIV prevention program for female sex workers in Tamil Nadu, India: is there evidence of an effect? 
BMC Public Health  2011;11(Suppl 6):S3.
Avahan, the India AIDS Initiative, a large-scale HIV prevention program, using peer-mediated approaches and STI services, was implemented for high-risk groups for HIV in six states in India. This paper describes the assessment of the program among female sex workers (FSWs) in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
An analytical framework based on the Avahan impact evaluation design was used. Routine program monitoring data, two rounds of cross-sectional biological and behavioural surveys among FSWs in 2006 (Round 1) and 2009 (Round 2) and quality assessments of clinical services for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were used to assess trends in coverage, condom use and prevalence of STIs, HIV and their association with program exposure. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine trends in intermediate outcomes and their associations with intervention exposure.
The Avahan program in Tamil Nadu was scaled up and achieved monthly reported coverage of 79% within four years of implementation. The cross-sectional survey data showed an increasing proportion of FSWs being reached by Avahan, 54% in Round 1 and 86% in Round 2 [AOR=4.7;p=0.001]. Quality assessments of STI clinical services showed consistent improvement in quality scores (3.0 in 2005 to 4.5 in 2008). Condom distribution by the program rose to cover all estimated commercial sex acts. Reported consistent condom use increased between Round 1 and Round 2 with occasional (72% to 93%; AOR=5.5; p=0.001) and regular clients (68% to 89%; AOR=4.3; p=0.001) while reactive syphilis serology declined significantly (9.7% to 2.2% AOR=0.2; p=0.001). HIV prevalence remained stable at 6.1% between rounds. There was a strong association between Avahan exposure and consistent condom use with commercial clients; however no association was seen with declines in STIs.
The Avahan program in Tamil Nadu achieved high coverage of FSWs, resulting in outcomes of improved condom use, declining syphilis and stabilizing HIV prevalence. These expected outcomes following the program logic model and declining HIV prevalence among general population groups suggest potential impact of high risk group interventions on HIV epidemic in Tamil Nadu.
PMCID: PMC3287556  PMID: 22375609
4.  Increasing condom use and declining STI prevalence in high-risk MSM and TGs: evaluation of a large-scale prevention program in Tamil Nadu, India 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:857.
This paper presents an evaluation of Avahan, a large scale HIV prevention program that was implemented using peer-mediated strategies, condom distribution and sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinical services among high-risk men who have sex with men (HR-MSM) and male to female transgender persons (TGs) in six high-prevalence state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India.
Two rounds of large scale cross-sectional bio-behavioural surveys among HR-MSM and TGs and routine program monitoring data were used to assess changes in program coverage, condom use and prevalence of STIs (including HIV) and their association to program exposure.
The Avahan program for HR-MSM and TGs in Tamil Nadu was significantly scaled up and contacts by peer educators reached 77 percent of the estimated denominator by the end of the program’s fourth year. Exposure to the program increased between the two rounds of surveys for both HR-MSM (from 66 percent to 90 percent; AOR = 4.6; p < 0.001) and TGs (from 74.5 percent to 83 percent; AOR = 1.82; p < 0.06). There was an increase in consistent condom use by HR-MSM with their regular male partners (from 33 percent to 46 percent; AOR = 1.9; p < 0.01). Last time condom use with paying male partners (up from 81 percent to 94 percent; AOR = 3.6; p < 0.001) also showed an increase. Among TGs, the increase in condom use with casual male partners (18 percent to 52 percent; AOR = 1.8; p < 0.27) was not significant, and last time condom use declined significantly with paying male partners (93 percent to 80 percent; AOR = 0.32; p < 0.015). Syphilis declined significantly among both HR-MSM (14.3 percent to 6.8 percent; AOR = 0.37; p < 0.001) and TGs (16.6 percent to 4.2 percent; AOR = 0.34; p < 0.012), while change in HIV prevalence was not found to be significant for HR-MSM (9.7 percent to 10.9 percent) and TGs (12 percent to 9.8 percent). For both groups, change in condom use with commercial and non-commercial partners was found to be strongly linked with exposure to the Avahan program.
The Avahan program for HR-MSM and TGs in Tamil Nadu achieved a high coverage, resulting in improved condom use by HR-MSM with their regular and commercial male partners. Declining STI prevalence and stable HIV prevalence reflect the positive effects of the prevention strategy. Outcomes from the program logic model indiacte the effectiveness of the program for HR-MSM and TGs in Tamil Nadu.
PMCID: PMC3848734  PMID: 24044766
5.  Costs Analysis of a Population Level Rabies Control Programme in Tamil Nadu, India 
The study aimed to determine costs to the state government of implementing different interventions for controlling rabies among the entire human and animal populations of Tamil Nadu. This built upon an earlier assessment of Tamil Nadu's efforts to control rabies. Anti-rabies vaccines were made available at all health facilities. Costs were estimated for five different combinations of animal and human interventions using an activity-based costing approach from the provider perspective. Disease and population data were sourced from the state surveillance data, human census and livestock census. Program costs were extrapolated from official documents. All capital costs were depreciated to estimate annualized costs. All costs were inflated to 2012 Rupees. Sensitivity analysis was conducted across all major cost centres to assess their relative impact on program costs. It was found that the annual costs of providing Anti-rabies vaccine alone and in combination with Immunoglobulins was $0.7 million (Rs 36 million) and $2.2 million (Rs 119 million), respectively. For animal sector interventions, the annualised costs of rolling out surgical sterilisation-immunization, injectable immunization and oral immunizations were estimated to be $ 44 million (Rs 2,350 million), $23 million (Rs 1,230 million) and $ 11 million (Rs 590 million), respectively. Dog bite incidence, health systems coverage and cost of rabies biologicals were found to be important drivers of costs for human interventions. For the animal sector interventions, the size of dog catching team, dog population and vaccine costs were found to be driving the costs. Rabies control in Tamil Nadu seems a costly proposition the way it is currently structured. Policy makers in Tamil Nadu and other similar settings should consider the long-term financial sustainability before embarking upon a state or nation-wide rabies control programme.
Author Summary
Rabies is a fatal viral disease. It is transmitted mostly through dog bites in greater parts of Asia and Africa. It is primarily a disease of the poorer population groups with children being the most vulnerable. Control of rabies among humans therefore requires interventions in the animal as well as the human sectors. Animal sector interventions include vaccination accompanied with or without sterilization of dogs. Human interventions are limited to individual vaccination following dog bites. We estimated the costs to the government of rolling out animal as well as human sector interventions across an entire state having a human population of 72 million. We also estimated the major drivers influencing program costs and the implications to the government of adopting such a strategy over a long time. We found that the animal sector interventions were many times more costly than the most expensive human interventions. We also found that in the absence of dog population control measures, it will require substantial financial commitment on the part of the government to be able to invest in dog vaccination strategies.
PMCID: PMC3937306  PMID: 24587471
6.  Diversity among Clients of Female Sex Workers in India: Comparing Risk Profiles and Intervention Impact by Site of Solicitation. Implications for the Vulnerability of Less Visible Female Sex Workers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73470.
It seems generally accepted that targeted interventions in India have been successful in raising condom use between female sex workers (FSWs) and their clients. Data from clients of FSWs have been under-utilised to analyse the risk environments and vulnerability of both partners.
The 2009 Integrated Biological and Behavioural Assessment survey sampled clients of FSWs at hotspots in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu (n=5040). The risk profile of clients in terms of sexual networking and condom use are compared across usual pick-up place. We used propensity score matching (PSM) to estimate the average treatment effect on treated (ATT) of intervention messages on clients’ consistent condom use with FSW.
Clients of the more hidden sex workers who solicit from home or via phone or agents had more extensive sexual networks, reporting casual female partners as well as anal intercourse with male partners and FSW. Clients of brothel-based sex workers, who were the least educated, reported the fewest number/categories of partners, least anal sex, and lowest condom use (41%). Consistent condom use varied widely by state: 65% in Andhra Pradesh, 36% in Maharashtra and 29% in Tamil Nadu. Exposure to intervention messages on sexually transmitted infections was lowest among men frequenting brothels (58%), and highest among men soliciting less visible sex workers (70%). Exposure had significant impact on consistent condom use, including among clients of home-based sex workers (ATT 21%; p=0.001) and among men soliciting other more hidden FSW (ATT 17%; p=0.001). In Tamil Nadu no impact could be demonstrated.
Commercial sex happens between two partners and both need to be, and can be, reached by intervention messages. Commercial sex is still largely unprotected and as the sex industry gets more diffuse a greater focus on reaching clients of sex workers seems important given their extensive sexual networks.
PMCID: PMC3759393  PMID: 24023877
7.  Prevalence of Dental Fluorosis Among Primary School Children in Rural Areas of Chidambaram Taluk, Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu, India 
Fluorosis is one of the common but major emerging areas of research in the tropics. It is considered endemic in 17 states of India. However, the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu is categorised as a fluorosis non-endemic area. But clinical cases of dental fluorosis were reported in the field practice area of Department of Community Medicine, Rajah Muthiah Medical College, Annamalai University, Chidambaram. Since dental fluorosis has been described as a biomarker of exposure to fluoride, we assessed the prevalence and severity of dental fluorosis among primary school children in the service area.
Materials and Methods:
Children studying in six primary schools of six villages in the field practice area of Rural Health Centre of Faculty of Medicine, Annamalai University, Chidambaram, were surveyed. Every child was clinically examined at the school by calibrated examiners with Dean's fluorosis index recommended by WHO (1997). Chi-square test, Chi-square trend test and Spearman's rank correlation coefficient test were used for statistical analysis.
Five hundred and twenty-five 5- to 12-year-old school children (255 boys and 270 girls) were surveyed. The overall dental fluorosis prevalence was found to be 31.4% in our study sample. Dental fluorosis increased with age P < 0.001, whereas gender difference was not statistically significant. Aesthetically objectionable dental fluorosis was found in 2.1% of the sample. Villages Senjicherry, Keezhaperambai and Kanagarapattu revealed a community fluorosis index (CFI) score of 0.43, 0.54 and 0.54 with 5.6%, 4.8% and 1.4% of objectionable dental fluorosis, respectively. Correlation between water fluoride content and CFI values in four villages was noted to be positively significant.
Three out of six villages studied were in ‘borderline’ public health significance (CFI score 0.4-0.6). A well-designed epidemiological investigation can be undertaken to evaluate the risk factors associated with the condition in the study region.
PMCID: PMC2763668  PMID: 19876473
Chidambaram taluk; community fluorosis index; Cuddalore district; dental fluorosis; water fluoride level
8.  Universal Health Coverage for India by 2022: A Utopia or Reality? 
It is the obligation of the state to provide free and universal access to quality health-care services to its citizens. India continues to be among the countries of the world that have a high burden of diseases. The various health program and policies in the past have not been able to achieve the desired goals and objectives. 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva identified universal health coverage (UHC) as the key imperative for all countries to consolidate the public health advances. Accordingly, Planning Commission of India constituted a high level expert group (HLEG) on UHC in October 2010. HLEG submitted its report in Nov 2011 to Planning Commission on UHC for India by 2022. The recommendations for the provision of UHC pertain to the critical areas such as health financing, health infrastructure, health services norms, skilled human resources, access to medicines and vaccines, management and institutional reforms, and community participation. India faces enormous challenges to achieve UHC by 2022 such as high disease prevalence, issues of gender equality, unregulated and fragmented health-care delivery system, non-availability of adequate skilled human resource, vast social determinants of health, inadequate finances, lack of inter-sectoral co-ordination and various political pull and push of different forces, and interests. These challenges can be met by a paradigm shift in health policies and programs in favor of vulnerable population groups, restructuring of public health cadres, reorientation of undergraduate medical education, more emphasis on public health research, and extensive education campaigns. There are still areas of concern in fulfilling the objectives of achieving UHC by 2022 regarding financing model for health-care delivery, entitlement package, cost of health-care interventions and declining state budgets. However, the Government's commitment to provide adequate finances, recent bold social policy initiatives and enactments such as food security bill, enhanced participation by civil society in all health matters, major initiative by some states such as Tamil Nadu to improve health, water, and sanitation services are good enough reasons for hope that UHC can be achieved by 2022. However, in the absence of sustained financial support, strong political will and leadership, dedicated involvement of all stakeholders and community participation, attainment of UHC by 2022 will remain a Utopia.
PMCID: PMC3714944  PMID: 23878417
Management reforms; public health; reality; universal health care; utopia
9.  Experience of violence and adverse reproductive health outcomes, HIV risks among mobile female sex workers in India 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:357.
Female sex workers (FSWs) are a population sub-group most affected by the HIV epidemic in India and elsewhere. Despite research and programmatic attention to FSWs, little is known regarding sex workers' reproductive health and HIV risk in relation to their experiences of violence. This paper therefore aims to understand the linkages between violence and the reproductive health and HIV risks among a group of mobile FSWs in India.
Data are drawn from a cross-sectional behavioural survey conducted in 22 districts from four high HIV prevalence states (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu) in India between September 2007 and July 2008. The survey sample included 5,498 FSWs who had moved to at least two different places for sex work in the past two years, and are classified as mobile FSWs in the current study. Analyses calculated the prevalence of past year experiences of violence; and adjusted logistic regression models examined the association between violence and reproductive health and HIV risks after controlling for background characteristics and program exposure.
Approximately one-third of the total mobile FSWs (30.5%, n = 1,676) reported experiencing violence at least once in the past year; 11% reported experiencing physical violence, and 19.5% reported experiencing sexual violence. Results indicate that FSWs who had experienced any violence (physical or sexual) were significantly more likely to be vulnerable to both reproductive health and HIV risks. For example, FSWs who experienced violence were more likely than those who did not experience violence to have experienced a higher number of pregnancies (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0-1.6), ever experienced pregnancy loss (adjusted OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.2-1.6), ever experienced forced termination of pregnancy (adjusted OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 2.0-2.7), experienced multiple forced termination of pregnancies (adjusted OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.7-2.8), and practice inconsistent condom use currently (adjusted OR = 1.97, 95% CI: 1.4-2.0). Among FSWs who experienced violence, those who experienced sexual violence were more likely than those who had experienced physical violence to report inconsistent condom use (adjusted OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.4-2.3), and experience STI symptoms (adjusted OR = 1.3, 95% CI: 1.1-1.7).
The pervasiveness of violence and its association with reproductive health and HIV risk highlights that the abuse in general is an important determinant for reproductive health risks; and sexual violence is significantly associated with HIV risks among those who experienced violence. Existing community mobilization programs that have primarily focused on empowering FSWs should broaden their efforts to promote reproductive health in addition to the prevention of HIV among all FSWs, with particular emphasis on FSWs who experienced violence.
PMCID: PMC3116498  PMID: 21599984
10.  Patterns of Migration and Risks Associated with Leprosy among Migrants in Maranhão, Brazil 
Leprosy remains a public health problem in Brazil with new case incidence exceeding World Health Organization (WHO) goals in endemic clusters throughout the country. Migration can facilitate movement of disease between endemic and non-endemic areas, and has been considered a possible factor in continued leprosy incidence in Brazil. A study was conducted to investigate migration as a risk factor for leprosy. The study had three aims: (1) examine past five year migration as a risk factor for leprosy, (2) describe and compare geographic and temporal patterns of migration among past 5-year migrants with leprosy and a control group, and (3) examine social determinants of health associated with leprosy among past 5-year migrants. The study implemented a matched case-control design and analysis comparing individuals newly diagnosed with leprosy (n = 340) and a clinically unapparent control group (n = 340) without clinical signs of leprosy, matched for age, sex and location in four endemic municipalities in the state of Maranhão, northeastern Brazil. Fishers exact test was used to conduct bivariate analyses. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was employed to control for possible confounding variables. Eighty cases (23.5%) migrated 5-years prior to diagnosis, and 55 controls (16.2%) migrated 5-years prior to the corresponding case diagnosis. Past 5 year migration was found to be associated with leprosy (OR: 1.59; 95% CI 1.07–2.38; p = 0.02), and remained significantly associated with leprosy after controlling for leprosy contact in the family, household, and family/household contact. Poverty, as well as leprosy contact in the family, household and other leprosy contact, was associated with leprosy among past 5-year migrants in the bivariate analysis. Alcohol consumption was also associated with leprosy, a relevant risk factor in susceptibility to infection that should be explored in future research. Our findings provide insight into patterns of migration to localize focused control efforts in endemic areas with high population mobility.
Author Summary
In Brazil, leprosy remains a significant public health problem in endemic clusters of high transmission risk throughout the country. Migration is thought to be a factor associated with continued leprosy transmission, as migration has also been found to be associated with other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). We analyzed the association between past five year migration and leprosy as part of a larger epidemiological study evaluating risk factors for infection among recently diagnosed leprosy cases (n = 340) and a matched clinically unapparent control group (n = 340) in the northeastern state of Maranhão. Among migrants with leprosy, 23.5% (n = 80) migrated in the past five years, with 16.2% (n = 55) of the control group. Past five year migration was significantly associated with leprosy, and remained significant after controlling for household and familial contact as potential confounders. Factors found to be associated with leprosy among past 5-year migrants included alcohol consumption, poverty, and household, family and other leprosy contact. Key patterns of movement emerged from the study that may aid future regional leprosy control efforts.
PMCID: PMC3764227  PMID: 24040433
11.  Knowledge and awareness of diabetes in urban and rural India: The Indian Council of Medical Research India Diabetes Study (Phase I): Indian Council of Medical Research India Diabetes 4 
Representative data on knowledge and awareness about diabetes is scarce in India and is extremely important to plan public health policies aimed at preventing and controlling diabetes.
The aim of the following study is to assess awareness and knowledge about diabetes in the general population, as well as in individuals with diabetes in four selected regions of India.
Materials and Methods:
The study subjects were drawn from a representative sample of four geographical regions of India, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Maharashtra representing North, South, East and West and covering a population of 213 million. A total of 16,607 individuals (5112 urban and 11,495 rural) aged ≥20 years were selected from 188 urban and 175 rural areas. Awareness of diabetes and knowledge of causative factors and complications of diabetes were assessed using an interviewer administered structured questionnaire in 14,274 individuals (response rate, 86.0%), which included 480 self-reported diabetic subjects.
Only 43.2% (6160/14,274) of the overall study population had heard about a condition called diabetes. Overall urban residents had higher awareness rates (58.4%) compared to rural residents (36.8%) (P < 0.001). About 46.7% of males and 39.6% of females reported that they knew about a condition called diabetes (P < 0.001). Of the general population, 41.5% (5726/13,794) knew about a condition called diabetes. Among them, 80.7% (4620/5726) knew that the prevalence of diabetes was increasing, whereas among diabetic subjects, it was 93.0% (448/480). Among the general and diabetic population, 56.3% and 63.4% respectively, were aware that diabetes could be prevented. Regarding complications, 51.5% of the general population and 72.7% diabetic population knew that diabetes could affect other organs. Based on a composite knowledge score to assess knowledge among the general population, Tamil Nadu had the highest (31.7) and Jharkhand the lowest score (16.3). However among self-reported diabetic subjects, Maharashtra had the highest (70.1) and Tamil Nadu, the lowest score (56.5).
Knowledge and awareness about diabetes in India, particularly in rural areas, is poor. This underscores the need for conducting large scale diabetes awareness and education programs.
PMCID: PMC4056139  PMID: 24944935
Asian Indians; awareness; diabetes; Indian Council of Medical Research India Diabetes; India; knowledge; rural; South Asians; urban
12.  The Screening India's Twin Epidemic: Study design and methodology (SITE-1) 
The recent years have seen a surge in the prevalence of both diabetes and hypertension. Significant demographic variations reported on the prevalence patterns of diabetes and hypertension in India establish a clear need for a nation-wide surveillance study. The Screening India's Twin Epidemic (SITE) study aimed at collecting information on the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes and hypertension cases in outpatient settings in major Indian states to better understand disease management, as well as to estimate the extent of underlying risk factors.
Materials and Methods:
During 2009–2010, SITE was conducted in eight states, in waves – one state at a time. It was planned to recruit about 2000 patients from 100 centers per wave. Each center enrolled the first 10 eligible patients (≥18 years of age, not pregnant, signed data release consent form, and ready to undergo screening tests) per day on two consecutive days. Patient demographics, medical history, and laboratory investigation results were collected and statistically interpreted. The protocol defined diabetes and hypertension as per the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7) recommendations, respectively.
After the first two pilot phases in Maharashtra and Delhi, the protocol was refined and the laboratory investigations were simplified to be further employed for all other states, namely, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat.
SITE's nation-wide approach will provide a real-world perspective on diabetes and hypertension and its contributing risk factors. Results from the study will raise awareness on the need for early diagnosis and management of these diseases to reduce complications.
PMCID: PMC3230100  PMID: 22145145
Diabetes mellitus; hypertension; India; management; prevalence; risk factors; screening protocol
13.  Role of Community Group Exposure in Reducing Sexually Transmitted Infection-Related Risk among Female Sex Workers in India 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78361.
Empowering female sex workers (FSWs) to address structural barriers and forming community groups (CGs) through community mobilization are seen as essential components of HIV prevention programs in India. Taking the membership of a CG as an exposure intervention, we hypothesized whether participation in a CG lead to reduced sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and increased treatment-seeking behavior among FSWs in three selected states of India — Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Methods and Findings
The propensity score matching (PSM) approach examined the effect of CG membership, as against no membership, on STI-related risk, described as selected outcome measures — presence of any STI, self-reported STI symptoms, and treatment-seeking behavior among FSWs. A cross sectional bio-behavioral survey was administered in 2009–2010 and covered 7,806 FSWs through two-stage probability-based conventional and time location cluster sampling in 23 administrative districts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Only 2,939 FSWs were reported to be members of a CG and among them 4.5% had any STIs. A majority of FSWs were aged above 24 years (86.4%), had ever been married (73%), operated from a public place for solicitation (81.5%), and had ever received HIV test results (75.6%). The average effect of CG exposure was reduction in STI prevalence by 4%, while self-reported STI symptom treatment-seeking behavior increased by 13.7%.
FSWs who were exposed to a CG were at a substantially lower risk of STIs than those who were unexposed. The FSWs exposed to a CG had a higher chance of seeking STI treatment from public and private health facilities. Collectivization related challenges must be overcome to provide access to tailored STI prevention and care services.
PMCID: PMC3813446  PMID: 24205210
14.  Innovations and Challenges in Reducing Maternal Mortality in Tamil Nadu, India 
Although India has made slow progress in reducing maternal mortality, progress in Tamil Nadu has been rapid. This case study documents how Tamil Nadu has taken initiatives to improve maternal health services leading to reduction in maternal morality from 380 in 1993 to 90 in 2007. Various initiatives include establishment of maternal death registration and audit, establishment and certification of comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn-care centres, 24-hour x 7-day delivery services through posting of three staff nurses at the primary health centre level, and attracting medical officers to rural areas through incentives in terms of reserved seats in postgraduate studies and others. This is supported by the better management capacity at the state and district levels through dedicated public-health officers. Despite substantial progress, there is some scope for further improvement of quality of infrastructure and services. The paper draws out lessons for other states and countries in the region.
PMCID: PMC2761773  PMID: 19489416
Maternal health; Maternal mortality; Obstetric care; Verbal autopsy; India
15.  Comparing the Clinical and Histological Diagnosis of Leprosy and Leprosy Reactions in the INFIR Cohort of Indian Patients with Multibacillary Leprosy 
The ILEP Nerve Function Impairment in Reaction (INFIR) is a cohort study designed to identify predictors of reactions and nerve function impairment in leprosy. The aim was to study correlations between clinical and histological diagnosis of reactions.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Three hundred and three newly diagnosed patients with World Health Organization multibacillary (MB) leprosy from two centres in India were enrolled in the study. Skin biopsies taken at enrolment were assessed using a standardised proforma to collect data on the histological diagnosis of leprosy, leprosy reactions and the certainty level of the diagnosis. The pathologist diagnosed definite or probable Type 1 Reactions (T1R) in 113 of 265 biopsies from patients at risk of developing reactions whereas clinicians diagnosed skin only reactions in 39 patients and 19 with skin and nerve involvement. Patients with Borderline Tuberculoid (BT) leprosy had a clinical diagnosis rate of reactions of 43% and a histological diagnosis rate of 61%; for patients with Borderline Lepromatous (BL) leprosy the clinical and histological diagnosis rates were 53.7% and 46.2% respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of clinical diagnosis for T1R was 53.1% and 61.9% for BT patients and 61.1% and 71.0% for BL patients. Erythema Nodosum Leprosum (ENL) was diagnosed clinically in two patients but histologically in 13 patients. The Ridley-Jopling classification of patients (n = 303) was 42.8% BT, 27.4% BL, 9.4% Lepromatous Leprosy (LL), 13.0% Indeterminate and 7.4% with non-specific inflammation. This data shows that MB classification is very heterogeneous and encompasses patients with no detectable bacteria and high immunological activity through to patients with high bacterial loads.
Leprosy reactions may be under-diagnosed by clinicians and increasing biopsy rates would help in the diagnosis of reactions. Future studies should look at sub-clinical T1R and ENL and whether they have impact on clinical outcomes.
Author Summary
Leprosy affects skin and peripheral nerves. Although we have antibiotics to treat the mycobacterial infection, the accompanying inflammation is a major part of the disease process. This can worsen after starting antibacterial treatment with episodes of immune mediated inflammation, so called reactions. These are associated with worsening of nerve damage. However, diagnosing these reactions is not straightforward. They can be diagnosed clinically by examination or by microscopic examination of the skin biopsies. We studied a cohort of 303 newly diagnosed leprosy patients in India and compared the diagnosis rates by clinical examination and microscopy and found that the microscopic diagnosis has higher rates of diagnosis for both types of reaction. This suggests that clinicians and pathologists have different thresholds for diagnosing reactions. More work is needed to optimise both clinical and pathological diagnosis. In this cohort 43% of patients had Borderline Tuberculoid leprosy, an immunologically active type, and 20% of the biopsies showed only minimal inflammation, perhaps these patients had very early disease or self-healing. The public health implication of this work is that leprosy centres need to be supported by pathologists to help with the clinical management of difficult cases.
PMCID: PMC3383736  PMID: 22745841
16.  Leprosy and the Human Genome 
Summary: Despite the availability of effective treatment for several decades, leprosy remains an important medical problem in many regions of the world. Infection with Mycobacterium leprae can produce paucibacillary disease, characterized by well-formed granulomas and a Th1 T-cell response, or multibacillary disease, characterized by poorly organized cellular infiltrates and Th2 cytokines. These diametric immune responses confer states of relative resistance or susceptibility to leprosy, respectively, and have well-defined clinical manifestations. As a result, leprosy provides a unique opportunity to dissect the genetic basis of human in vivo immunity. A series of studies over the past 40 years suggests that host genes influence the risk of leprosy acquisition and the predilection for different clinical forms of the disease. However, a comprehensive, cellular, and molecular view of the genes and variants involved is still being assembled. In this article, we review several decades of human genetic studies of leprosy, including a number of recent investigations. We emphasize genetic analyses that are validated by the replication of the same phenotype in independent studies or supported by functional experiments demonstrating biological mechanisms of action for specific polymorphisms. Identifying and functionally exploring the genetic and immunological factors that underlie human susceptibility to leprosy have yielded important insights into M. leprae pathogenesis and are likely to advance our understanding of the immune response to other pathogenic mycobacteria. This knowledge may inform new treatment or vaccine strategies for leprosy or tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3008172  PMID: 21119019
17.  Test Anxiety Levels of Board Exam Going Students in Tamil Nadu, India 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:578323.
The latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau has positioned Tamil Nadu as the Indian state with highest suicide rate. At least in part, this is happening due to exam pressure among adolescents, emphasizing the imperative need to understand the pattern of anxiety and various factors contributing to it among students. The present study was conducted to analyze the level of state anxiety among board exam attending school students in Tamil Nadu, India. A group of 100 students containing 50 boys and 50 girls from 10th and 12th grades participated in the study and their state anxiety before board exams was measured by Westside Test Anxiety Scale. We found that all board exam going students had increased level of anxiety, which was particularly higher among boys and 12th standard board exam going students. Analysis of various demographic variables showed that students from nuclear families presented higher anxiety levels compared to their desired competitive group. Overall, our results showing the prevalence of state anxiety among board exam going students in Tamil Nadu, India, support the recent attempt taken by Tamil Nadu government to improve student's academic performance in a healthier manner by appointing psychologists in all government schools.
PMCID: PMC4129138  PMID: 25143938
18.  Genetic variation in South Indian castes: evidence from Y-chromosome, mitochondrial, and autosomal polymorphisms 
BMC Genetics  2008;9:86.
Major population movements, social structure, and caste endogamy have influenced the genetic structure of Indian populations. An understanding of these influences is increasingly important as gene mapping and case-control studies are initiated in South Indian populations.
We report new data on 155 individuals from four Tamil caste populations of South India and perform comparative analyses with caste populations from the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh. Genetic differentiation among Tamil castes is low (RST = 0.96% for 45 autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) markers), reflecting a largely common origin. Nonetheless, caste- and continent-specific patterns are evident. For 32 lineage-defining Y-chromosome SNPs, Tamil castes show higher affinity to Europeans than to eastern Asians, and genetic distance estimates to the Europeans are ordered by caste rank. For 32 lineage-defining mitochondrial SNPs and hypervariable sequence (HVS) 1, Tamil castes have higher affinity to eastern Asians than to Europeans. For 45 autosomal STRs, upper and middle rank castes show higher affinity to Europeans than do lower rank castes from either Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh. Local between-caste variation (Tamil Nadu RST = 0.96%, Andhra Pradesh RST = 0.77%) exceeds the estimate of variation between these geographically separated groups (RST = 0.12%). Low, but statistically significant, correlations between caste rank distance and genetic distance are demonstrated for Tamil castes using Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal data.
Genetic data from Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal STRs are in accord with historical accounts of northwest to southeast population movements in India. The influence of ancient and historical population movements and caste social structure can be detected and replicated in South Indian caste populations from two different geographic regions.
PMCID: PMC2621241  PMID: 19077280
19.  Prevalence of Dyslipidemia in Urban and Rural India: The ICMR–INDIAB Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96808.
To study the pattern and prevalence of dyslipidemia in a large representative sample of four selected regions in India.
Phase I of the Indian Council of Medical Research–India Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB) study was conducted in a representative population of three states of India [Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jharkhand] and one Union Territory [Chandigarh], and covered a population of 213 million people using stratified multistage sampling design to recruit individuals ≥20 years of age. All the study subjects (n = 16,607) underwent anthropometric measurements and oral glucose tolerance tests were done using capillary blood (except in self-reported diabetes). In addition, in every 5th subject (n = 2042), a fasting venous sample was collected and assayed for lipids. Dyslipidemia was diagnosed using National Cholesterol Education Programme (NCEP) guidelines.
Of the subjects studied, 13.9% had hypercholesterolemia, 29.5% had hypertriglyceridemia, 72.3% had low HDL-C, 11.8% had high LDL-C levels and 79% had abnormalities in one of the lipid parameters. Regional disparity exists with the highest rates of hypercholesterolemia observed in Tamilnadu (18.3%), highest rates of hypertriglyceridemia in Chandigarh (38.6%), highest rates of low HDL-C in Jharkhand (76.8%) and highest rates of high LDL-C in Tamilnadu (15.8%). Except for low HDL-C and in the state of Maharashtra, in all other states, urban residents had the highest prevalence of lipid abnormalities compared to rural residents. Low HDL-C was the most common lipid abnormality (72.3%) in all the four regions studied; in 44.9% of subjects, it was present as an isolated abnormality. Common significant risk factors for dyslipidemia included obesity, diabetes, and dysglycemia.
The prevalence of dyslipidemia is very high in India, which calls for urgent lifestyle intervention strategies to prevent and manage this important cardiovascular risk factor.
PMCID: PMC4016101  PMID: 24817067
20.  Pre-hospital care among victims of road traffic accident in a rural area of Tamil Nadu: A cross-sectional descriptive study 
The World Health Organization has estimated that globally almost 1.24 million people die annually on the world's roads. The aim of the study was to assess the attributes of pre-hospital care in road traffic accidents (RTAs) victim brought to the health care establishment and to evaluate the pre-hospital trauma care provided in the rural areas of Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional descriptive study of 3 months duration (June 2014 to August 2014) was conducted in the Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram. The method of sampling was universal sampling and all RTA victims satisfying the inclusion criteria were included in the study. During the entire study duration, total 200 RTA victims were included. A pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire was used to elicit the desired information after the victims of RTAs are stabilized. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee prior to the start of the study. Written informed consent was obtained from the study participants (patient/guardian of children) before obtaining any information from them. Data entry and statistical analysis were done using SPSS version 18. Frequency distributions and percentages were computed for all the variables.
Majority of the RTA victims 158 (79%) were from the age-group of 15-45 years. Most of the accidents were reported in night time [77 (38.5%)], on week-ends [113 (56.5%)], and involved two-wheelers [153 (76.5%)]. Almost 66 (33%) of the victims were not aware of the existence of emergency ambulance services. Also, only 15 (7.5%) victims were brought to the hospital in the emergency ambulance, of which only 3 victims were accompanied by a doctor.
To conclude, the study indicates that a significant proportion of people were unaware about the emergency trauma ambulance services and the existing pre-hospital care services lack in multiple dimensions in a rural area of South India.
PMCID: PMC4271379  PMID: 25540536
Pre-hospital care; road traffic accidents; rural; South India
21.  Medicinal plants used by traditional healers in Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu, India 
An ethnobotanical survey was undertaken to collect information from traditional healers on the use of medicinal plants in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu during October 2003 to April 2004. The indigenous knowledge of local traditional healers and the native plants used for medicinal purposes were collected through questionnaire and personal interviews during field trips.
The investigation revealed that, the traditional healers used 85 species of plants distributed in 76 genera belonging to 41 families to treat various diseases. The documented medicinal plants were mostly used to cure skin diseases, poison bites, stomachache and nervous disorders. In this study the most dominant family was Euphorbiaceae and leaves were most frequently used for the treatment of diseases.
This study showed that many people in the studied parts of Kancheepuram district still continue to depend on medicinal plants at least for the treatment of primary healthcare. The traditional healers are dwindling in number and there is a grave danger of traditional knowledge disappearing soon since the younger generation is not interested to carry on this tradition.
PMCID: PMC1615867  PMID: 17026769
22.  Enhancing innovation between scientific and indigenous knowledge: pioneer NGOs in India 
Until recently, little attention has been paid to local innovation capacity as well as management practices and institutions developed by communities and other local actors based on their traditional knowledge. This paper doesn't focus on the results of scientific research into innovation systems, but rather on how local communities, in a network of supportive partnerships, draw knowledge for others, combine it with their own knowledge and then innovate in their local practices. Innovation, as discussed in this article, is the capacity of local stakeholders to play an active role in innovative knowledge creation in order to enhance local health practices and further environmental conservation. In this article, the innovative processes through which this capacity is created and reinforced will be defined as a process of "ethnomedicine capacity".
The field study undertaken by the first author took place in India, in the State of Tamil Nadu, over a period of four months in 2007. The data was collected through individual interviews and focus groups and was complemented by participant observations.
The research highlights the innovation capacity related to ethnomedical knowledge. As seen, the integration of local and scientific knowledge is crucial to ensure the practices anchor themselves in daily practices. The networks created are clearly instrumental to enhancing the innovation capacity that allows the creation, dissemination and utilization of 'traditional' knowledge. However, these networks have evolved in very different forms and have become entities that can fit into global networks. The ways in which the social capital is enhanced at the village and network levels are thus important to understand how traditional knowledge can be used as an instrument for development and innovation.
The case study analyzed highlights examples of innovation systems in a developmental context. They demonstrate that networks comprised of several actors from different levels can synergistically forge linkages between local knowledge and formal sciences and generate positive and negative impacts. The positive impact is the revitalization of perceived traditions while the negative impacts pertain to the transformation of these traditions into health commodities controlled by new elites, due to unequal power relations.
PMCID: PMC2771006  PMID: 19849851
23.  Two randomized controlled clinical trials to study the effectiveness of prednisolone treatment in preventing and restoring clinical nerve function loss in leprosy: the TENLEP study protocols 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:159.
Nerve damage in leprosy often causes disabilities and deformities. Prednisolone is used to treat nerve function impairment (NFI). However, optimal dose and duration of prednisolone treatment has not been established yet. Besides treating existing NFI it would be desirable to prevent NFI. Studies show that before NFI is clinically detectable, nerves often show subclinical damage. Within the ‘Treatment of Early Neuropathy in LEProsy’ (TENLEP) study two double blind randomized controlled trials (RCT) will be carried out: a trial to establish whether prednisolone treatment of 32 weeks duration is more effective than 20 weeks in restoring nerve function in leprosy patients with clinical NFI (Clinical trial) and a trial to determine whether prednisolone treatment of early sub-clinical NFI can prevent clinical NFI (Subclinical trial).
Two RCTs with a follow up of 18 months will be conducted in six centers in Asia. In the Clinical trial leprosy patients with recent (< 6 months) clinical NFI, as determined by Monofilament Test and Voluntary Muscle Test, are included. The primary outcomes are the proportion of patients with restored or improved nerve function. In the Subclinical trial leprosy patients with subclinical neuropathy, as determined by Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) and/or Warm Detection Threshold (WDT), and without any clinical signs of NFI are randomly allocated to a placebo group or treatment group receiving 20 weeks prednisolone. The primary outcome is the proportion of patients developing clinical NFI. Reliability and normative studies are carried out before the start of the trial.
This study is the first RCT testing a prednisolone regimen with a duration longer than 24 weeks. Also it is the first RCT assessing the effect of prednisolone in the prevention of clinical NFI in patients with established subclinical neuropathy. The TENLEP study will add to the current understanding of neuropathy due to leprosy and provide insight in the effectiveness of prednisolone on the prevention and recovery of NFI in leprosy patients. In this paper we present the research protocols for both Clinical and Subclinical trials and discuss the possible findings and implications.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register: NTR2300
Clinical Trial Registry India: CTRI/2011/09/002022
PMCID: PMC3547773  PMID: 23249098
Leprosy; Prednisolone; Nerve function impairment; Subclinical neuropathy
24.  Empowering the people: Development of an HIV peer education model for low literacy rural communities in India 
Despite ample evidence that HIV has entered the general population, most HIV awareness programs in India continue to neglect rural areas. Low HIV awareness and high stigma, fueled by low literacy, seasonal migration, gender inequity, spatial dispersion, and cultural taboos pose extra challenges to implement much-needed HIV education programs in rural areas. This paper describes a peer education model developed to educate and empower low-literacy communities in the rural district of Perambalur (Tamil Nadu, India).
From January to December 2005, six non-governmental organizations (NGO's) with good community rapport collaborated to build and pilot-test an HIV peer education model for rural communities. The program used participatory methods to train 20 NGO field staff (Outreach Workers), 102 women's self-help group (SHG) leaders, and 52 barbers to become peer educators. Cartoon-based educational materials were developed for low-literacy populations to convey simple, comprehensive messages on HIV transmission, prevention, support and care. In addition, street theatre cultural programs highlighted issues related to HIV and stigma in the community.
The program is estimated to have reached over 30 000 villagers in the district through 2051 interactive HIV awareness programs and one-on-one communication. Outreach workers (OWs) and peer educators distributed approximately 62 000 educational materials and 69 000 condoms, and also referred approximately 2844 people for services including voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), care and support for HIV, and diagnosis and treatment of sexually-transmitted infections (STI). At least 118 individuals were newly diagnosed as persons living with HIV (PLHIV); 129 PLHIV were referred to the Government Hospital for Thoracic Medicine (in Tambaram) for extra medical support. Focus group discussions indicate that the program was well received in the communities, led to improved health awareness, and also provided the peer educators with increased social status.
Using established networks (such as community-based organizations already working on empowerment of women) and training women's SHG leaders and barbers as peer educators is an effective and culturally appropriate way to disseminate comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS to low-literacy communities. Similar models for reaching and empowering vulnerable populations should be expanded to other rural areas.
PMCID: PMC2377249  PMID: 18423006
25.  Globalisation of birth markets: a case study of assisted reproductive technologies in India 
The escalation of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) in India into a veritable fertility industry is the result of a multitude of reasons. This paper places the bio-genetic industry within the larger political economy framework of globalisation and privatisation, thus employing a framework that is often omitted from discussions on ARTs, but has direct and significant bearings on the ART industry in India. As markets for human organs, tissues and reproductive body parts experience unprecedented growth, the limits of what can or should be bought and sold continue to be pushed. As such, bodies have emerged as sale-worthy economic capital. Commercial flows of reproductive material create and deploy the division of the body into parts over which ownership is claimed, in the process following 'modern routes of capital' and raising issues of structural inequality.
This paper presents a brief picture of India's fertility industry with specific focus on its ground-level operation, nature and growth. It aims to explore the industry dimensions of ARTs, by highlighting the macro picture of health care markets and medical tourism in India, the proliferation of the ART industry, market features such as the social imperative to mother, costs, promotion and marketing, unverified claims, inflated success rates, deals and offers, actors and collaborations in the field, and finally, the absence of standards. This paper presents findings from the research 'Constructing Conceptions: The Mapping of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in India', by Sama, a Delhi-based resource group working on gender, health and rights. This research was conducted from 2008 to 2010 in the three states of Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu in India, and is one of the first of its kind, highlighting unethical medical practices and making a case for the regulation of the ART industry. As such, it forms a significant part of Sama's ongoing work on women and technologies, particularly policy-level advocacy.
PMCID: PMC3169454  PMID: 21838866

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