Operational Research is working since the establishment of NITM (Formerly RMRC), Belagavi. Its main focus is to work on establishing a model to integrate Traditional Medicine practices with modern medicine through scientific research and validation. To achieve this goal, the OR is working together with all the departments/ divisions of NITM (Formerly RMRC), Belagavi, and also in collaborations with neighboring institutes and Public Health authorities. The OR has started its activity with the study entitled "Disease survey based on hospital records in Belgaum region" to know the disease prevalence in this region. The study provided the basic data on the prevalence of the diseases of local health importance. Simultaneously to know the availability of cost-effective solutions in traditional medicine for local health conditions, the OR has undertaken the following study, "Survey on usage, availability, and utility of traditional medicines/ formulations in Belagavi region". The aim of the study was to understand the status of codified/ herbal /traditional practice like Ayurvedic systems as well as compile information on traditional practitioners (Non-codified system) of Belgaum district for treatment of various diseases. The study indicated the existence of traditional medicine in the district. Based on the results of the study "Demography of patients visiting traditional healers in Belgaum region" was recorded. Traditional healers were selected based on their OPD attendance giving preference to all kinds of diseases. This study created a baseline data on the demography of the patients who are visiting the traditional practitioners/ folklore healers and assessed the level of satisfaction of the healer's service. It is interesting to note 78% of patients have tried allopathy before they visited traditional practitioners. Further the "Knowledge, attitude and utilization of traditional medicine by patients visiting allopathic hospitals in Belgaum region" was undertaken to find out knowledge and attitude towards traditional medicines and also to assess the willingness of the patients visiting allopathic hospitals to change treatment from allopathic to traditional medicine if offered. The results showed that the patients were aware of traditional medicine and ready to take traditional medicine if good practitioners are available.
Later, the OR is coordinating with THRU and other departments of NITM (Formerly RMRC) to understand the traditional approach of health-seeking behavior of the village population in different settings and also to develop sustainable model protocols for an integrated approach to achieve overall health. Operational Research has established the "School of Traditional Medicine" to facilitate more meaningful scientific deliberation among different stakeholders with a focus on local experience and National perspective. To support this and create valid data, an Integrated Clinic is also established. It is proposed to undertake pragmatic, observational, and case studies of prioritized traditional formulations/ practices duly recommended by the empowered committee. Apart from these activities, OR has also undertaken the studies on Understanding delivery, access, and utilization of HIV services in Goa and Belgaum; An ICMR task force study. Understanding community and the health care provider's perspective on male-controlled biological option in India; was successfully conducted in collaborations with NARI, Pune. Towards the development of human resource development and IEC activities, OR has conducted training, workshops, brainstorming sessions to traditional practitioners with summer training programs for students of Master of Public health, etc.
The OR would invite suggestions and comments from the public to device strategies, to understand, evaluate, and integrate the Traditional Medicinal practices with the health care delivery system in the larger interest of poor patients.