Public Health

Right nutrition is the key to the health of senior citizens in India

As the years roll by, life seems to go full circle, and we find ourselves taking care of and worrying about those parents and elderly relatives who took care of and worried about us in our childhood. Ironically, one of the biggest individual concerns also goes full circle – trying to encourage them to eat the right things and get all the nutrients they need. Recent research published by Gauhati Medical College provided the shocking statistic that 15 percent of 360 senior citizens assessed in the study were suffering from malnutrition.

Healthcare Start ups Healthcare Technology Public Health

Nutrition First: How an App Seeks to Make People Aware of Their Food Habits

How often do you check the cover of packaged food items for their nutritional value? Most people usually toss it in the shopping cart without thinking twice about what they are about to consume.

Given that Indian food is generally high on carbs and there is increasing preference for fatty junk foods, the nutritional value of a meal is not only diluted but the required daily nutrient intake too suffers leading to various lifestyle disorders such as diabetes and hypertension.

Healthcare Delivery Public Health

Why Tuberculosis in India is a social problem

As we complete yet another year, we continue to stare at a TB epidemic in India. As I mentioned in my post last year that we have done precious little and often we seem to be distracted by newer and cooler diseases like AIDS.

I was talking to one of the health workers in Karnataka and came across a very interesting insight. She told me that Tuberculosis is a social problem in India more than health. When I asked her if she was referring to the social stigma attached with the disease, she just smiled and told me that the problem goes deeper. After an hour of our discussion I understood what the problem was…


How the humble Idli can solve the nutrition problem in India


Idli or rice cake could solve some problems of wellness and nutrition in the country.

According the the recent breakfast survey done at 4 major metros in India, Idli-sambar came out on tops as the most nutritious breakfast. This combination won over other traditional foods like Parathas and Modern additions like Bread. A mix of rice and urad dal (White Lentil) , the Idli is an ideal mix of protien, fat andcarbohydrates with the Sambar providing vitamins and minerals.

Needless to say Chennai (madras) came out tops as the city where almost 60 % of those surveyed consumed breakfast. Interestingly most of the nation did not consume breakfast or did not consume enough of it.

Food from Kolkatta was considered too high in Maida, while the one from Delhi was high in Oil. Mumbai does not have traditional breakfast and most people consume bread.

The research was sponsored by Kellogg s who have been trying for last 20 years to get some foothold in the Indian breakfast table.

Interestingly Tamilnadu chief Minister Dr Jayalalitha inaugurated a corporation run restaurant earlier this year which would serve Idli-Sambar for Rs 10. 13 such outlets were opened in February and there were plans to open 100 more in the year. For more on that story please read here.

Historically Idli was first mentioned by the Kannada historian and King Someshwara III in 1170 AD. It seems to have been influenced by the Indonesian style of steam cooking.

For those keen to learn how to cook this dish do check out this You tube video.

So can the humble idli solve our nutrition issues? Should the north adopt this super star of the south Indian kitchen ?

as always comments and concerns welcome….


Public Health

Eli Lilly & Boehringer Ingelheim partnership : A sign of things to come in Indian Pharmaceutical space

Though the role of Pharmaceutical companies in public health is very significant, it has often not been covered very extensively. One good example is the work done by Cipla in Africa to counter AIDS. Similarly Sanofi does extensive work in India to eradicate pneumonia and Novo Nordisk has been active in the diabetic’s space.

Many consumer healthcare firms have also been on the fore front of these activities. Colgate has been advocating strong Public dental health while GSK focuses on nutrition in the public health space . Incidentally GSK launched variants of its nutrition drink Horlicks to cater to women and expecting mothers.

But recently many pharmaceutical firms have joined hands to combat a situation.

The recent one being the collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim (BI)and Eli Lilly in the diabetes control therapeutic area in India. (Source Mint :

Eli Lilly has been in this pace in India for a while mostly working in the human inject able insulin category. Boehringer also present in India and has a good Oral Anti Diabetes drug.

Diabetes is a condition that is characterized by High glucose levels. there are two varieties of diabetes, Type 1 which is present since childhood and type 2 which is adult onset diabetes. Most people in India suffer from type 2 diabetes which requires Oral hypoglycemics initially but eventually requires Insulin which is taken in inject able form. Some patients are prescribed a combination of both. In India there are almost 40 Million diabetics and this figure may be as high as 80 Million due to lack of awareness.

So what the two comapies would do is to share sales and marketing teams to reduce cost and leverage their natural synergies in this segment.

As Lilly does not make Oral Hypoglycemic and BI does not have inject able there is no conflict in the business interests of the two firms.

The other aspect of this battle is between prescripion drugs and generic drugs. This partnership could be another attempt bu drug companies based out of india to compete against the domestic palyers. Hopefully the partnership would also focus on diabetes prevention and not only on increasing the sales of their inject ables.

This is not the first time that there was been an alliance between two firms. Schering Plough (SP) used to partner with Merck earlier till Merck eventually acquired SP.

In a study launched last year called “Fade or Flourish” IBM had reasoned that the future of the Pharmaceutical industry would involve more collaboration and partnerships among the various stakeholders. The study can be downloaded from this link.

Whether this partnership will hold and prove beneficial to the two entities is a hard thing to say but at least this is a clear indication of things to come in the Pharmaceutical world.