Director’s desk

ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre established on 29th March, 1981 is one of the 27 center of ICMR in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. In the last four decades the Centre has focused its activities on research in both communicable and non-communicable diseases, human resource development programme and establishing strong linkage with different departments of State government in finding solutions to the regional public health problem. Besides basic and applied research, translational research has been taken up in operational mode. Communicable research programme includes studies on lymphatic filariasis, malarial, diarrhoeal diseases, tuberculosis, diseases of viral etiology and zoonotic diseases. Non communicable diseases include multimorbidity, nutrition, sickle cell disease, hypertension and diabetes.

Besides establishing the Model Rural Health Research Units (MRHRU) at Tigiria, Cuttack in collaboration with Govt. of Odisha, the Centre has also established two new MRHRUs in Ganjam district of Odisha and Ranchi, Jharkhand with support from Dept. of Health Research, Govt. of India with a aim to create infrastructure at the periphery for transfer of technology to the rural level for improving the quality of health services to rural population. ICMR-RMRC Bhubaneswar, in the past four decades, has contributed significantly towards improving the region’s health status in close coordination with the state government and alignment with its mission and vision. The salient achievement of the centre in last 4 decades are

  1. Is one of the six national reference laboratories (NRLs) for tuberculosis (TB) in India, supporting TB laboratory services in ten states including seven north-east states. The NRL got NABL accredited in 2018.
  1. The virus research and diagnostic laboratory (VRDL) of the centre got upgraded to the regional level in the year 2018 and is designated as the apex laboratory for JE, Dengue, Chikungunya, H1N1 by the Odisha government and WHO-accredited laboratory for Measles and Rubella.
  2. Estimated the burden of TB among the tribal population and developed an innovative health system model to strengthen TB control in the tribal areas of Odisha.
  3. Demonstrated the effectiveness of food supplementation on treatment outcomes and nutritional status of adults with TB in tribal Odisha. Other tribal-dominated states are currently replicating the same.
  4. Conducted assessment of comparative performance (efficacy & safety) of C-TB with QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Plus and 2 T.U. Tuberculin PPD RT23 SSI for detection of latent TB infection in general and key population
  5. The innovative study on identification of environmental reservoirs of plankton carrying different cholerae sero-groups was instrumental for the state to implement “State Cholera Action Plan” and effectively control the seasonal outbreaks.
  6. Carried out the demonstration of using ‘One Health’ approach for control of anthrax, a zoonotic disease of public health importance in Koraput, a tribal-dominated district of Odisha. Towards this, an effective collaboration was fostered with state health, veterinary, forest, wildlife and agriculture departments. Also, developed a district-level model for early diagnosis and management of Scrub typhus through health system strengthening in another tribal district (Keonjhar).
  7. Designed and developed an online certificate course on ‘One Health’, first-of-its-kind in India. The course is planned to be launched in January 2023 through the NPTEL platform.
  8. Is an implementation research partner for DAMaN, Odisha state’s indigenous malaria elimination programme for remote and tribal areas.
  9. Documented the health status of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) in Odisha and currently undertaking “Odisha Tribal Family Health Survey”.
  10. Established a population cohort at its MRHRU, Tigiria. The cohort comprising 16,500 households would be of critical importance in understanding the disease transmission dynamics and a conducive platform for future clinical trials.
  11. Is one of the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Resource Hubs under DHR, since 2018. The hub has successfully conducted HTA for the automated portable auditory brainstem response (ABR) system for neonatal hearing impairment screening (recommended by HTAIn board for introduction into national programme) and telemedicine-enabled Otoscope for diagnosis at primary healthcare level.
  12. Is a Global Evidence Synthesis Initiative (GESI) partner to support evidence informed policy in maternal & child health, urban health, chronic conditions and infectious diseases of poverty.
  13. Has been conducting a two-year Master of Public Health (MPH) programme since 2018 for students from both medical and non-medical disciplines.
  14. The COBAS laboratory of the centre has been designated as the HIV Viral load testing centre by National AIDS Control Organization in May 2023.

During the last 5 years the centre has taken up various scientific projects funded by ICMR, DHR, DST, DBT, NVBDCP, National Health Mission, Medical Research Council of UK, UNICEF, Gates Foundation, State Governments of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

During the year 2022-23, the scientists from the institute have published more than 60 research papers with an average impact factor of 6.182. All publications are indexed, published in reputed international journals. The scientists and students of the centre has presented their research findings in various international conferences in India and abroad.

The Center’s library subscribes to E-resources and databases like EMBASE, EBSCO, ProQuest and ERMED which carries more than 3,000 e-journals. In addition to that the library subscribes to software like Ithenticate, MAXQDA, EndNote X8, STATA- SE16, Graph Pad and Infograpia.

As part of its mandate the centre has contributed significantly to the human research development through various academic program like PhD, Post Doctorate, MD dissertation, M.Sc. dissertation, and Internship. During the last 5 years, 20 students completed their Pre-PhD course work under Utkal University, KIIT University, SRM University and MGR Medical University. 10 Ph.D scholars sponsored by CSIR, DST, UGC and ICMR under fellowship as JRF/SRF are continuing their Ph.D programme. Three Postdoctoral fellows sponsored by ICMR working in this Centre. Training was imparted to staff engaged by the state government were trained on molecular diagnosis and serological techniques for diagnosis of various infectious diseases. ICMR-RMRC, Bhubaneswar compiled and edited a book “ODI-SCI: The Odyssey of the women scientists of Odisha” which documents the amazing life history, phenomenal scientific journey and enlightening views of the great women scientists of the Odisha State. The book was released by Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Collaboration with State Health Department was strengthened in form of consultancy, undertaking evaluation of health programme, referral diagnostic services, epidemic investigations and disaster management.

With total staff strength of 103 at present 63 are in position including 21 scientists (technical staff and admin) and all vacant positions are in active process being filled up shortly after the selection is over.

The Centre regularly organized several workshops, seminars and meetings including Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting, Animal and Institutional Animal Ethical Committee (IAEC) and Human Ethical Committee (IHEC).

During the year several developmental activities were undertaken by the Centre. The laboratories were upgraded to modular lab to facilitate; more working space to accommodate expansion in research areas and more students. In January, 2023, Hon’ble Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare & Chemicals and Fertilizers, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya inaugurated the annex building Bhubaneswar and laid the foundation stone for ICMR School of Public Health & BSL III Laboratory of ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar in the august presence of Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, Smt. Aparajita Sarangi, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Bhubaneswar and Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Secretary to Government of India, Department of Health Research and Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research. Several cultural functions and Annual Function of the Centre was organized as a Staff Welfare activity. For the staff, gymnasium facility has been provided besides, playground and canteen facility were processed for construction. I sincerely thank scientists and staff for their endeavor and contributions. I am also thankful to the State Health Department and other agencies, collaborating Institutes and experts of SAC, ethical and other technical committees for their assistance, support and co-operation. I extend my deep gratitude to DG, ICMR and Council for their continuous support, guidance and encouragement. With all round support, the Centre can continue its endeavor to achieve its goal.

Dr.( Mrs.) Sanghamitra Pati
MD, MPH, Ph.D(Netherlands)


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