Doctor with city roots pushes for infectious disease specialty course

DR Navin Shah, the former president of the American College of International Physicians (ACIP) and an alumnus of B J Medical College in Pune has initiated a slew of 'India health' projects and follows it up each year by visiting top health officials in the country.

On Tuesday, Shah met several officials from B J Medical College urging them to introduce an infectious diseases specialty course. "India has an estimated 50 million Infectious diseases (ID) patients. About 40% of deaths in India are due to ID. At present, there are no ID speciality training," Shah told Newsline.

Shah, who is a former student of B J Medical College and donated funds for the college library and urged officials to introduce a course on ID. Such a course has been approved by the government and medical council of India in 2008, but has yet to be launched in the country, he said. To encourage the introduction of such courses, Shah has also said a scholarship will instituted to invite an Indian ID teacher to the US for getting acquainted with the programmes there. Ten US ID specialists will also visit India to teach ID in India, over a period of 12 months, as part of the project, Shah said.

During this leg of his visit, Shah also met additional chief secretary (health) TC Benjamin and urged him to introduce emergency medical service and trauma centre project in the state. India has one of the highest mortality rates in accident injuries. (Estimates are around 3,50,000 deaths annually.) "We have tried to develop an emergency medical service for Mumbai and the American College of Surgeons' Trauma Director, Dr. Wayne Meredith has offered one fully paid scholarship to invite a Mumbai surgeon for a week's training in the US," he said.

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