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Dr. Mrs. Banoo Coyaji receiving the 1993 Ramon Magsaysay Award from the President of Philippines.

The KEM Hospital Research Center has been publishing a Quarterly Newsletter since 1993.

An attempt has been made in the present issue of the Newsletter to provide a brief overview of some of the important projects completed by the scientists of the KEMHRC in the last 25 years. It appears as a Souvenir Volume of 25 years of KEMHRC.

From Very Small Beginnings.....
In 1972, when the King Edward Memorial Hospital, Pune, celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, a need was felt to further improve and expand its services – especially to the under–served. Therefore it was decided to start a rural health project in a poor drought prone area – Vadu Budruk in Shirur Taluka. The Diamond Jubilee committee, assigned the task of collecting funds, was advised by a well wisher to start a Research Society, as at that point of time there was a 133% tax exemption for all research work. Permission was granted in a short time and the first substantial donations were given by Mr. Khosla of Khosla Plastics and Mr. S. L. Kirloskar of the House of Kirloskar. We started in a small way with clinical and pathological research in the Khosla Endocrine Laboratory. This was the stimulus to start a separate society – The K. E. M. Hospital Research Center – under the direction of Dr. V. N. Rao, in 1973.

Our mission was to do research in subjects which affected our country and our people with emphasis on Maternal Child Health and Family Planning. Our vision was to strive for excellence and to encourage all our clinicians in doing quality research. The seed money was given by us in the first instance and if the quality was good, grants were sought from outside to support that research. We expanded rapidly and soon became a Human Reproduction Research Center of the ICMR. Our philosophy was that the agenda should always be ours and never donor driven.

An Advisory Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. V. Ramalingaswamy ensured quality research both clinical and field operational. We have grown over the years, with multi–disciplinary research in various subjects such as: Maternal Mortality, Nutrition and Intra–Uterine Fetal Growth, Feeding and Growth of Low Birth Weight babies Integrated Delivery of Reproductive Health Care services at the district level, Contraceptive Trials, Adolescent Sexuality and Fertility, Integrated Programme on Early Detection of Childhood Disabilities, Women’s Health and Development, Characterization of Indian Diabetes, Indian Childhood Cirrhosis and other Liver Diseases, Male Involvement in Reproductive Health, Empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions etc.

Prestigious Donor such as World Health Organization (HQ Geneva and SEARO), UNICEF, Population Council (New York), Rockefeller Foundation (UK), ODA, Medical Research Council (U.K.), Institute of Human Nutrition (Southampton University), Welcome Trust, Swiss Tropical institute, Indian Council of Medical Research, The Tata Trusts etc. as well as active support from Government of India and the State Government are mute testimony to the quality of our Research. Our Research Scientists and Clinicians are members of various National and International Health committees and have published scientific papers in prestigious journals.

As we complete 25 years the K. E. M. Hospital Research Center can legitimately claim to have attained maturity and as we purposefully march into the 21st century we look forward to forging ahead with our Clinical–cum–Laboratory and Field Operational Research activities, keeping in focus, the country’s priorities, the needs of the community and the Research Center’s interest in problem–oriented, problem solving research.

Dr. B.J.Coyaji K.E.M. Hospital Research Center, Pune Profile
Research in KEM. Hospital started in1973 under the aegis of the KEM. Hospital Society, over sixty years after the institution came into existence in 1912. Initially, the research activities centered around clinical studies funded mainly by the KEM Hospital Research Funds.

It was only after the Vadu Rural Health Project came into existence in 1978 that the Research activities got a real boost. Project proposals covering hospital based/community–based clinical and field operational research were developed and submitted for funding. Following rapid growth and expansion, the Research Center was registered in 1985 as an independent Society under the Society’s Registration Act of 1860, as per the directives of the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India. This not only gave the KEM Hospital Research Center a separate status but also gave it legal authority for getting Income Tax Exemption under Section 35(i)ll, and coverage under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA).

After 25 years of its existence the KEM Hospital Research Center, Pune, has fully matured and has got international and national recognition. In recent years, the Research Center has been invited to take up research projects on issues of national relevance with the research studies being carried out mainly in collaboration with prestigious International and National Institutions.

The focus of attention at KEM Hospital Research Center has been on problem oriented, problem–solving community cum hospital–based research. The research projects/studies now being carried our are wide ranging, covering clinical, clinical–cum–laboratory, field operational health systems and Bio–medical research. In all, thirty two research projects / studies are now in progress covering major issues which are of great relevance to our country. The research projects/studies include such major areas like Reproductive Child Health, Adolescent Sex and Sexuality, Clinical trials on abortifacients and contraceptives, RTI and STI studies including AIDS, improving quality of health services delivery in rural areas and urban slums, Childhood diseases and disabilities, Clinical studies on diseases like Diabetes, Epilepsy, Dengue, etc. A resume of the research in the above areas carried out by KEM Hospital Research Center has been given later.