Developing evidence based health policy in resource limited settings—lessons from Nepal

Few would argue against the benefits of evidence informed public health and health policies. However, efforts to inform health policy in resource limited settings face particularly daunting challenges—often specific to the political complexity and resource limitations experienced uniquely in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

The Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC), a Government of Nepal body, has a long held mandate to support informed decision making by health policymakers in Nepal—an exciting but daunting role to operationalise. Informing health policy assumes that there is a base of information to communicate: in Nepal, this often isn’t available.

Read the full article by Dr Sangeeta R, Dr. Soumyadeep B and Dr. Krishna A at the British Medical Journal Blogs (Open Access)

Better Healthcare for the ASEAN Community after 2015

Hanoi, Vietnam – Hanoi hosted the 12th ASEAN Meeting of the Ministers of Health in September, the title “Better Healthcare for the ASEAN Community after 2015”, where 2015 stands for the dealing on the Millennium Development Goals established by the UN in 2000. Delegates of Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines (joined by auditors from China, Japan and South Korea, ASEAN+3) met to talk about health: how to protect and it and how to improve it.

ASEAN-member-countriesAmong the thematic panel to which representatives of the international community of donors have been invited, it is astonishing how countries which are generally known for their natural and cultural heritage (Phuket, Angkor Wat, Bali) have in fact complex and often extremely sophisticated health systems. Everything is addressed: old age, emerging infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS and health insurance systems.
In a region that grows, becomes richer and therefore older, the management of old age can’t be underestimated. Globalization means more economic exchange, but with trade and global transport come diseases, with richness and new opening to a new world come new habits and more sexual freedom, used by HIV/AIDS and STIs to move across countries. Speaking of health, being blunt about it even, is not a mere health priority anymore: it has become a political one too.

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Scholarly Authors are Increasingly Experiencing APC Fatigue

Originally posted on Scholarly Open Access:


APCs create a digital divide.

Article Processing Charges (APCs) are the fees charged to authors upon acceptance of their papers in gold (author pays) open-access journals, and authors are getting tired of paying these increasingly higher fees. This is called APC fatigue.

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The public health threat from sugary drinks in India

India has announced a soda tax in efforts to reduce consumption, with the aim of curbing the rise in diseases such as obesity and diabetes, writes Soumyadeep Bhaumik in an article published in BMJ last week

In February this year Anand Grover, the United Nations’ former special rapporteur on the right to health, held a consultation in Mumbai as part of the groundwork for his report on unhealthy foods, non-communicable disease, and the right to health. The report, submitted in April 2014 to the UN Human Rights Council, highlighted the need for fiscal policies, particularly higher taxes on sugar sweetened beverages, to control non-communicable disease in India.1

In July 2014 the government of India announced the introduction of an extra 5% excise tax on aerated sugary drinks.2 Higher taxes on sugar sweetened beverages are already used as a public health measure in some countries, including France and Mexico.

Empty calories and obesity
Sugar sweetened beverages are said to contain only “empty calories” because they provide little nutritional value. Multiple meta-analyses have shown a consistent, specific, and dose related association between the intake of sugar sweetened drinks and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.3 4 5 6 7 The association with type 2 diabetes exists among all age groups even after the results are adjusted for body mass index and total energy consumption.

In one European study adults who drank more than one can of sugary soda a day had a 22% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who drank less than one can a month.8 Analysis of the Framingham Heart Study found that adults who consumed at least one soft … Read the full article at BMJ .

Mapping the growth of The Cochrane Collaboration in India

The Cochrane Collaboration held its annual Colloquium for the first time in South Asia at Hyderabad , India in September 2014. Dr. Soumyadeep B presented a poster to analyse the growth of The Cochrane Collaboration in India. As a vehement supporter of open data the poster is also made available here. The same will also be archived at the 2014 Colloquium Official website. Click on link below or the Image for downloading a pdf of it.

Mapping the growth of The Cochrane Collaboration in India

Regional distribution of Cochrane Contributors in India (Click o Image for Full poster)

Regional distribution of Cochrane Contributors in India (Click on Image for Full poster)

Perspective of different stakeholders in research priority setting for a public health problem in low and middle income nation

The 22nd Cochrane Colloquium in Hyderabad saw a special session on “Setting research agendas: balancing public health and patient level priorities” on 25th September 2014,  . The session organised by the Cochrane Agenda and Priority Setting Methods Group (CAPSMG)  had the following format :

Session Co-Chairs  Roberto D’Amico & Damian Francis

Rebecca Armstrong: Priority setting: the CPHG experience

Robert Dellavalle & Chante Karimkhani :On the Global Burden of Disease project and how it can help set priorities vis-a-vis public health and patient level priorities

Soumyadeep Bhaumik : Perspective of different stakeholders in a  research priority setting of a public health problem in LMIC

Kevin Pottie: Priority Setting for Guidelines and Interventions

Vivian Welch: Cochrane Agenda and Priority Setting Methods Group (CAPSMG)

Discussion Session : ROLE PLAY where participants took roles as policy makers, clinicians and members of the public for deciding priority for Ebola and Sin taxes for Sugar Sweetened Beverages. 

Dr. Soumyadeep B presentation at the session is attached and free to use under CC-BB-NY-SA (Click)

Perspective of different stakeholders in a research priority setting of a public health problem in LMIC 

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Participants in Role Play at the Session

Participants in Role Play at the Session

Participants in Role Play at the Session

Participants in Role Play at the Session

Participants in Role Play at the Session

Participants in Role Play at the Session

An update from the Cochrane Public Health Group

Originally posted on Research Connect:

Our work within Public Health Insight aims to generate evidence-informed solutions for decision makers. Public Health Insight incorporates the Cochrane Public Health Group (CPHG) and we thought it was time to provide an update on the work of CPHG and highlight the scope of our Cochrane reviews.

By way of background, in 2005 the World Health Organisation (WHO) convened the Commission on Social Determinants of Health to determine the available evidence globally on health inequities. The ultimate goal of the commission was to identify strategies to curb the increase in inequities.

The results suggested that inequities were not naturally occurring and could be avoidable by improving policy choices, i.e. acting on the social and structural determinants of population health.

In 2008, the Cochrane Public Health Group (CPHG) was registered as an editorial group with the international Cochrane Collaboration to address these challenges. Our mandate is to produce systematic reviews of…

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