Mangaluru: Dr Anurag Bhargava, Professor in the Department of General Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College and Head, Center for Nutrition Studies, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University) was awarded the prestigious Dr PRJ Gangadharam endowment award 2021 by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in a function on April 22 at Wardha in Maharashtra.
This award in the memory of Dr Gangadharam a pioneering microbiologist in the field of TB is given to recognize the work of a prominent Indian Scientist for their contribution to tuberculosis control in India. Previous recipients of this award include Dr Soumya Swaminathan, currently Chief Scientist WHO.
Dr Bhargava is a clinician, researcher, and public health specialist with experience working at all levels of care in India for more than 30 years. He established an award-winning TB treatment service for poor rural and tribal patients in Chhattisgarh while working in Jan Swasthya Sahyog, a non-profit organization. This experience led him to explore the interactions between undernutrition and Tuberculosis and its outcomes. A large study led by him established severe undernutrition as a common coexisting condition in patients with TB in India which is a major risk factor for TB deaths. Later he and colleagues showed that undernutrition in adults is the leading risk factor driving the TB epidemic in India, accounting for nearly half of new TB cases in India. Currently, he is leading a large trial in Jharkhand supported by ICMR, which aims to reduce the occurrence of new cases and reduce TB deaths by addressing undernutrition.
Dr Bhargava has numerous contributions at the national and international levels. He was responsible for coordinating the drafting of a Policy Document for nutritional care and support for the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP), which later led to the launch of the Nikshay Poshan Yojana. He has contributed to the National Strategic Plan for TB Elimination as well as to the Joint Monitoring Missions of the NTEP. At an international level he is a member of the Strategic Technical Advisory Group on TB (STAG-TB) for the WHO South-East Asia Region, is a resource person for the Global TB Programme at WHO Geneva, and is a member of the scientific advisory committee of the Report India Consortium, a joint Indo-US governmental initiative.