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Need for evidence-informed funding for Leptospirosis Research in India

Aug 03, 2019

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease which peaks seasonally, often in the form of outbreaks.

New Delhi: The George Institute for Global Health India today released an evidence gap map (EGM) that analyzed 557 research studies conducted on leptospirosis in India. The analysis highlighted gaps in research for basic biomedical research, epidemiology (disease distribution and risk factors), diagnostic tests and prevention, management, and control efforts to address the problem of Leptospirosis. The development of the evidence gap map was supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and is expected to inform future strategic decisions in the area of research.

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease which peaks seasonally, often in the form of outbreaks. The Kerala Floods last saw Leptospirosis outbreaks and the Maharashtra government this year is taking pre-emptive steps to prevent outbreaks. In the recent past, there has been a surge in incidence and outbreaks of leptospirosis with cases reported from several states in India. The National Centre for Disease Control identifies Andaman & Nicobar, Gujarat (4 districts), Kerala (14 districts affected), Maharashtra (4 districts and Mumbai), Karnataka (9 districts) and Tamil Nadu (2 districts and Chennai) as areas of high burden.

A National Program for Control and Prevention of leptospirosis in endemic states was started by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2015. The Indian Council of Medical Research, (ICMR) Expert Committee on Leptospirosis identified the need to inform future strategic decisions for research through systematic appraisal of available research in the country. ICMR entrusted The George Institute with developing an evidence-gap map for Leptospirosis research in India.

The EGM project focussed on developing visual maps of available research on Leptospirosis in India. “Incremental increase in knowledge is a key tenet of science. Public funding of research should be to fill existing gaps and tools like Evidence Gap Maps facilitate the process. We are glad to have indigenously built on previous work to develop maps across the domain for a condition such that they can inform research priorities nationally.” said Dr Soumyadeep Bhaumik, the lead for the project and Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health, India.

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