Posted on 10-05-2003
The CFTRI Alumni Association is proud to inform all members that our Chief Patron Dr.Prakash's concern about the malnutrion worldover has received media's attention. For the benefit of our members, we have scanned the news item as appeared in the leading National daily of India.

India Should Fight Malnutrition, Says Expert

"India should fight Malnutrition and Related Syndrome (MARS) in addition to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and fall back on a blend of its traditional system of knowledge and modern system of medicine," according to V. Prakash, Director, Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI).

He was speaking after inaugurating the 21st conference of Association of Physicians of India, Karnataka Chapter, here on Friday evening.

Dr. Prakash said the world was shaken by SARS, but wondered why nobody was worrying about MARS when billions of people were afflicted by it. The latter was caused by the deficiency of macro- or micro-nutrients such as iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc was the crux of the matter for us in India today, he added.

He said up to two billion people were suffering from anaemia, and since only developing countries were afflicted by it, the world did not attach as much importance to malnutrition as it did to SARS. India had to worry about MARS and address it boldly and find solutions through dietary diversification, food fortification, pharmaceutical supplementation, and better health measures with co-operation from the medical fraternity. India could be a global leader with its unique combination of traditional knowledge based on the equally vast biodiversity and the modern system of medicine and training. In this context, he referred to the traditional knowledge base such as herbal medicine, and said the global market for herbal products was nearly $70 billion. It was growing annually at the rate of about 15 per cent. Indian market for herbal products was estimated to be about Rs. 5,000 crore and growing at about 10 per cent annually. This market would get a boost after 2005 when amendments to patent laws would give more protection to the innovator.

Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji of Suttur Math, and Sri Balagangadharnath Swamiji of Adichunchanagiri Math, were present. Earlier, at the continuing medical education programme held as a run-up to the meeting of the Association of Physicians of India, Karnataka chapter, experts took stock of SARS and cautioned against complacency. Doctors treating patients with suspected SARS were advised a high degree of hygiene, though the disease had not made its impact in India. Though there were a few stray cases suspected to be SARS, the patients had recovered and there were no SARS-related death so far in the country. It was pointed out that patients with SARS syndrome should be subjected to radiology as the disease took more than a week to 10 days to manifest.

The inauguration of the CME programme saw participating doctors in an introsective mood as speakers and delegates called for maintaining medical integrity and ethical standards in the profession. H. Gurupadappa, Director, JJM Medical College, Davangere, cautioned that failure to do so would lead to bringing the profession under the purview of the Consumers Protection Act.

Physicians' meet gets off to start in City

The 21st annual conference of the Association of Physicians of India, Karnataka chapter - KAPICON 2003 - began at Platinum jubilee auditorium, J K Grounds here today.

The three-day conference, which will focus on common health problems like malaria, neurological emergencies and heart failure, was inaugurated by CFTRI director Dr. V. Prakash. Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences Vice-Chancellor Dr R Chandrashekara inaugurated a medical exhibition.

Senior API members Dr M V Govindappa of Mysore, Dr. Shivashankar of Gulbarga, Dr N L Nayak of Shimoga and Dr N R Rau of Manipal, were felicitated on the occasion. Dr. Muralidara Rao, Chairman, API, Karnataka, presided over the function.

On the occasion, Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji of Adichunchanagiri Mat released the Karnataka journal of medical sciences and Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji of Suttur Math released another souvenir.

Earlier, there was a continued medical education programme that was followed by an update session on SARS.

Delegates, including practicing physicians, teaching faculty of all medical colleges of Karnataka, medical research students and post-graduate students in internal medicine are attending the conference.

Nearly 125 scientific papers would be presented at the physicians' convention. In addition, nearly 60 eminent physicians and specialists in various subjects from the state and other parts of the country are taking part in the debate and discuss the present day challenges in health and disease. The theme of the convention is 'High quality academic deliberations with good practical exposure'.

Address MARS alongside SARS: Experts

"If 7,053 cases of SARS reported till today have shaken up the entire world with one case being detected in India and WHO including India in its list of SARS-affected countries, why does not the Malnutrition and Related Syndrome (MARS) awaken the whole world when billions of people are affected by it".

This argument was raised by CFTRI Director Dr. V. Prakash at the inauguration of All India Physicians' Conference - KAPICON 2003 - here today.

Dr. Prakash, who was the chief guest, said this 'malnutrition related syndrome', especially that of macronutrition and micronutrition focussing on micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc, is the crux of the matter in India today.

He said up to two billion people are suffering from anaemia. It is known that tackling iron deficiency could boost productivity up to 20 per cent in many developing countries. The maternal cycle of an adolescent girl to grandmother can completely change if iron deficiency is combated.

"But as it is a developing country's problem nobody gives as much importance to MARS as SARS; who is to be blamed," he asked. "We have to take up this syndrome and fight till it is eliminated," Dr. Prakash said. If the whole world worries about SARS, India has to worry about MARS in addition to SARS and address it boldly, he said. "It can be a leader in finding solutions through dietary diversification, food fortification, pharmaceutical supplementation and better health measures with the co-operation of the medical fraternity," he observed. "One out of every five people in developing world does not have access to enough food for healthy living.

"We need to have the capacity to buy and there is no wonder that we are still taking about an area where more than 80 per cent of pregnant women in India are anaemic and an estimated 254 million children of pre-school age are at risk of suffering from vitamin deficiency. We as Team India have an agenda for the future in medicine, for the future population especially of youngsters below 20 years, since in 2020, 60 per cent of India's population will be below 20," the CFTRI director explained on the occasion

India has to worry about SARS as an agenda for the rest of the world. We need to prevent it, but let eradication of both micro and macro nutrition be an agenda for all of us, he said. In this process, the 4,000 -year traditional and unique knowledge of India could be used with modern medicine, he said.

According to him, it is estimated that the global market for herbal products is nearly $70 billion and is growing at the rate of about 15 per cent. Indian market for herbal products is estimated to be Rs. 5,000 crore and has captured 25 per cent of the domestic retail total pharmaceutical market today as per the statistics of 2002.

It is also estimated that the growth rate in the last couple of years is around 10 per cent. This market will increase after 2005 when amendments to patents laws will give more protection to the innovator.

"We have no leverage between ourselves to not only look at the experience of nearly 4,000 years of traditional medicine but also weave that knowledge into modern strategies of advances medicine and get the benefit from both of them," he said.
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