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Kalita, Anuska; Shinde, Sachin; Patel, Vikram (2015)
Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Journal: Global Health Action
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: Original Article, research capacity, research systems, RA1-1270, Public aspects of medicine, bibliometry, India, health research funding, public health research
Background: Public health research has gained increasing importance in India's national health policy as the country seeks to address the high burden of disease and its inequitable distribution, and embarks on an ambitious agenda towards universalising health care. Objective: This study aimed at describing the public health research output in India, its focus and distribution, and the actors involved in the research system. It makes recommendations for systematically promoting and strengthening public health research in the country. Design: The study was a bibliometric analysis of PubMed and IndMed databases for years 2000–2010. The bibliometric data were analysed in terms of biomedical focus based on the Global Burden of Disease, location of research, research institutions, and funding agencies. Results: A total of 7,893 eligible articles were identified over the 11-year search period. The annual research output increased by 42% between 2000 and 2010. In total, 60.8% of the articles were related to communicable diseases, newborn, maternal, and nutritional causes, comparing favourably with the burden of these causes (39.1%). While the burdens from non-communicable diseases and injuries were 50.2 and 10.7%, respectively, only 31.9 and 7.5% of articles reported research for these conditions. The north-eastern states and the Empowered-Action-Group states of India were the most under-represented for location of research. In total, 67.2% of papers involved international collaborations and 49.2% of these collaborations were with institutions in the UK or USA; 35.4% of the publications involved international funding and 71.2% of funders were located in the UK or USA. Conclusions: While public health research output in India has increased significantly, there are marked inequities in relation to the burden of disease and the geographic distribution of research. Systematic priority setting, adequate funding, and institutional capacity building are needed to address these inequities.

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