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CORRESPONDENCE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 138  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 560-561

Research & policy disconnect: The case of rabies research in India


On behalf of Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses in India (RCZI), initiative Public Health Foundation of India 4 Institutional Area, VasantKunj, New Delhi 110 070, India

Date of Web Publication19-Nov-2013

Correspondence Address:
Manish Kakkar
On behalf of Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses in India (RCZI), initiative Public Health Foundation of India 4 Institutional Area, VasantKunj, New Delhi 110 070
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 24434265

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How to cite this article:
Abbas SS, Kakkar M. Research & policy disconnect: The case of rabies research in India. Indian J Med Res 2013;138:560-1

How to cite this URL:
Abbas SS, Kakkar M. Research & policy disconnect: The case of rabies research in India. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Nov 28];138:560-1. Available from: https://www.ijmr.org.in/text.asp?2013/138/4/560/121556

Sir,

India is home to a significant portion of the global burden of endemic zoonoses and is a global hotspot for emerging infections [1] . Research studies have demonstrated that India produces the highest number of rabies cases in the world [2] . Consequently, there is an increasing recognition among policymakers about the need for controlling rabies in India as demonstrated in the repeated disease prioritization exercises in the country [3],[4] and the fact that rabies has been considered as a priority zoonosis by the Planning Commission to be tackled in the 12 th Five Year Plan [5] .

Rabies has been successfully eliminated or controlled in many Latin American and Sub-Saharan African countries using proven intervention strategies, such as post-exposure prophylaxis in humans and animal birth control and immunization among dogs [6] . Studies conducted in India have also identified efficacious human [7] and animal [8] interventions that can be administered at a population level for rabies control. However, policymakers in India, as in many other countries, remain concerned about presence of sufficient information in order to implement these strategies [9],[10] . Different reasons are advanced to explain the disconnect that prevents the translation of scientific research outputs into effective policies in rabies and as well as in other health domains. These range from lack of a strong evidence base [9],[10] to limited emphasis on knowledge translation activities [11],[12] . In our recent article on rabies research from India [13] , we found that less than ten original research articles on rabies were published annually in India. The Indian research output represents 4.4 per cent of the global research on rabies which is grossly disproportionate to the magnitude of the problem and the size of the research community in India. It was also found that four institutions (two each from human and animal sectors) generated almost half of the total research output in India [13] . Even though the importance of controlling rabies virus circulation from animal reservoirs is well established [14],[15] , it was found that most of the research from India focussed on the rabies virus (58%) or the human (34%) aspects of the disease [13] . Research articles focussing on animals and research published in animal centric journals comprised less than 9 per cent of total research output [13] . It was also found that most published research was laboratory based or clinical research while rural areas, accounting for the bulk of rabies cases [16] were the focus of only 1 per cent of the total research [13] .

Despite the fact that India is among the leaders globally on research funding for neglected diseases [17] , its contribution is still small in relation to the global research output [13],[18] . Further, the limited research output that exists in health sector, is not aligned to the public policy needs [13],[18],[19] . There is a disconnect between the information needs of the public health planners and the evidence that is generated by the research community.These issues around translation of evidence into informed policies are especially important for research related to rabies and other zoonoses that deals with interface between multiple sectors and species. The diverse nature of incentives driving research in the human and animal health sectors [20] makes a compelling reason for a Strategic Research Agenda that can jointly guide the research across different disciplines and sectors for zoonoses prevention and control [21] . Our findings highlight the importance of moving beyond a purely researcher-driven agenda and suggest the need to promote research that has a vision for rabies control in the near future.


   Acknowledgment Top


The authors acknowledge the guidance and support from partners in the Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses in India Initiative.

 
   References Top

1.Jones KE, Patel NG, Levy MA, Storeygard A, Balk D, Gittleman JL, et al. Global trends in emerging infectious diseases. Nature 2008; 451 : 990-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.Baxter JM. One in a million, or one in thousand: What is the morbidity of rabies in India? J Global Health 2012; 2 : 10303.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Sekar N, Shah NK, Abbas SS, Kakkar M. Research options for controlling zoonotic disease in India, 2010-2015. PLoS One 2011; 6 : e17120.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). Zoonotic diseases of public health importance. New Delhi: NICD; 2005. p. 1-148.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Planning Commission of India. Report of the Working Group on Disease Burden for the 12 th Five Year Plan. Planning Commission of India. 2011. p. 1-256. Available from: http://planningcommission.nic.in/aboutus/committee/wrkgrp12/health /WG_3_1communicable.pdf, accessed on February 13, 2012.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Belotto A, Leanes LF, Schneider MC, Tamayo H, Correa E. Overview of rabies in the Americas. Virus Res 2005; 111 : 5-12.  Back to cited text no. 6
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7.Madhusudana SN, Sanjay TV, Mahendra BJ, Suja MS. Simulated post-exposure rabies vaccination with purified chick embryo cell vaccine using a modified Thai Red Cross regimen. Int J Infect Dis 2004; 8 : 175-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
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8.Cliquet F, Gurbuxani JP, Pradhan HK, Pattnaik B, Patil SS, Regnault A, et al. The safety and efficacy of the oral rabies vaccine SAG2 in Indian stray dogs. Vaccine 2007; 25 : 3409-18.  Back to cited text no. 8
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9.Kakkar M, Abbas SS, Raghuvanshi B, Venkataramanan V. Report on National Expert Consultation on Rabies Control in Tamil Nadu: 9-10 August, 2011, Chennai; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.Lembo T, Hampson K, Kaare MT, Ernest E, Knobel D, Kazwala RR, et al. The feasibility of canine rabies elimination in Africa: dispelling doubts with data. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2010; 4 : e626.  Back to cited text no. 10
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11.Hyder AA, Corluka A, Winch PJ, El-Shinnawy A, Ghassany H, Malekafzali H, et al. National policymakers speak out: are researchers giving them what they need? Health Policy Planning 2011; 26 : 73-82.  Back to cited text no. 11
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12.Petticrew M, Platt S, McCollam A, Wilson S, Thomas S. "We're not short of people telling us what the problems are. We're short of people telling us what to do": an appraisal of public policy and mental health. BMC Public Health 2008; 8 : 314.  Back to cited text no. 12
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13.Kakkar M, Venkataramanan V, Krishnan S, Chauhan RS, Abbas SS. Moving from rabies research to rabies control: Lessons from India. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2012; 6 : e1748.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.Lembo T. The blueprint for rabies prevention and control: a novel operational toolkit for rabies elimination. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2012; 6 : e1388.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.World Health Organization (WHO). Oral vaccination of dogs against rabies: Guidance for research on oral rabies vaccines and Field application of oral vaccination of dogs against rabies. Geneva: WHO; 2007.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.Sudarshan MK, Madhusudana SN, Mahendra BJ, Rao NSN, Ashwathnarayana DH, Abdul Rahman S, et al. Assessing the burden of human rabies in India: results of a national multi-center epidemiological survey. Int J Infect Dis 2007; 11 : 29-35.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.Moran M, Guzman J, Henderson K, Ropars A-L, McDonald A, McSherry L, et al. 2009 Neglected Diseases Research & Development: New Times, New Trends. Sydney: 2009.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.Dandona L, Raban MZ, Guggilla RK, Bhatnagar A, Dandona R. Trends of public health research output from India during 2001-2008. BMC Med 2009; 7 : 59.  Back to cited text no. 18
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19.Murhekar MV, Shah NK. Research funding in India: need to increase the allocation for public health. Indian J Med Res 2010; 132 : 224-5.  Back to cited text no. 19
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20.Coker RJ, Rushton J, Mounier-Jack S, Karimuribo E, Lutumba P, Kambarage D, et al. Towards a conceptual framework to support one-health research for policy on emerging zoonoses. Lancet Infect Dis 2013; 121 : 873-7.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.Schmidt CW. Swine CAFOs & novel H1N1 flu: separating facts from fears. Environ Health Perspect 2009; 117 : A394-401.  Back to cited text no. 21
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