From Director’s Desk
Dr. Subarna Roy
Scientist G & Director , ICMR-NITM, Belagavi
Namaskar and a hearty welcome to ICMR-National Institute of Traditional Medicine!
NITM is the premier Institute of the ICMR family that is entrusted with researching Traditional Medicinal practices with the objective to harness cost-effective practices and promising leads for betterment of healthcare. The National Health Policy of 2017 underscores the importance of integrative healthcare, plurality of systems of medicine, expanding access to healthcare and integrating multiple systems. NITM has a key role in this direction whereby it CONNECTS the modern healthcare with the AYUSH systems and again between the AYUSH and Folk systems.
MODERN HEALTH SYSTEM <<NITM>> AYUSH SYSTEM <<NITM>> FOLK MEDICINE
NITM connects community studies with laboratory studies and delivers the outcome back to communities (completing a cycle of knowledge that is harvested from the community, validated/ refined in laboratories, and delivered back) empowering them in the process. The complex process involves documentation of practices in communities (often tribals), pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance activities, analysis and identification of apparently useful medicines/practices for further laboratory validation. Laboratory validation again consists of a complex of studies across disciplines, followed by pre-clinical and clinical evaluations. The anticipated deliverables at the end of each cycle of these studies are (i) validated medicine/practice (ii) new phytopharmaceutical (iii) new methodology/ technology development and occasionally (iv) new product. NITM has a team of dedicated researchers across disciplines that encompass Medicine and Basic Sciences who are qualified in each of the fields required for the process.
NITM also carries out research on areas other than Traditional Medicine. NITM has not only played a major role in carrying out National Task-Force studies in a networked manner e.g in National Rotavirus Surveillance, Dengue Serosurveillance, Zika Vector Surveillance, etc, it has contributed immensely to outbreak investigations in cholera, diphtheria, dengue, etc. NITM had been instrumental in flagging the re-emergence of Diphtheria in the State of Karnataka, emergence of the Haitian variant of Cholera, establishment of Salivirus and Human Paracheovirus as causal agents of childhood diarrhoea etc. NITM has also established Model Rural Health Research Unit at Sirwar in Raichur District that is dedicated towards improving the health indicators of the rural population.
NITM has a long history of developing human resources in the region. It has already produced a good number of PhDs in association with various Universities, trained hundreds of Post Graduate students of Biological Sciences, Ayurveda, Pharmacy and Engineering.
NITM has always been active in its outreach activities. It has opened its gates for faculty, researchers and students to utilize its Herbal Garden, Museum and research infrastructure. The Institute has conducted several workshops, seminars and has been actively involved in carrying out IEC activities on various aspects of health among stakeholders.
NITM, despite its limited scientists and staff rose to the occasion at the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and was the first Institute in North Karnataka to start RT-PCR testing for the disease. It imparted training to most of the Medical Colleges and other testing centres in the region subsequently. Till date NITM has conducted more than 3,50.000 tests for the benefit of the people of the region.
NITM, during the year 2021-2022 has got immense support from the DG, ICMR/Secretary DHR Prof Balram Bhargava.
I wish to thank the former Director/Directors-in-Charge for their will and determination to make NITM stand out in its formative years and solicit their blessings on behalf of NITeaM for its future endevours.