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Blog Posts by Vibha Varshney
Vibha Varshney

Science Editor, Down To Earth. She has written extensively on health and science issues. She has worked with the magazine since 2000.

July 11, 2014

Who will run all the institutes and labs promised?

Creating infrastructure is not going to improve India’s health. But today’s budget was focused on this aspect. Money has been given for making more AIIMS-like institutes, more medical colleges, referral Institutes for higher dental studies and institutes for the ageing. More infrastructure has been promised for strengthening the drug and food regulatory systems. Under this, laboratories would be built.

February 7, 2014

Scientists attending the 101st Science Congress discuss technology solutions to lift farmers, livestock owners out of poverty

Jammu and Kashmir is one state where science can really make a difference. A high 70 per cent of the population in the northern Indian state depends on agriculture. The mountainous terrain makes life difficult and most people are poor, but at the same time it has resources which could lift people out of poverty.

February 6, 2014

The Bill Gates Foundation has invited Indian innovators to send in their ideas that could change the world. But India needs more solutions to its problems than what the foundation can fund. We should cash in on the existing database of ideas with the National Research Development Corporation and National Innovation Foundation

February 5, 2014

Taxonomists who can identify plant samples correctly are in great shortage, affecting research in applied sciences like biotechnology and genetics 

Is there any relevance of working on basic sciences such as taxonomy, the science of classification of an organism based on its characters? This was the question raised at the inaugural session on plant sciences at the 101st Indian Science Congress being held in Jammu.

February 4, 2014

Exhibits include gas stove that can be timed to turn off; a clothesline that protects clothes from rain

India needs to use modern science to deliver value to society, said  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 101st session of the Indian Science Congress on Monday. He was speaking at the inaugural session at the University of Jammu. He added that basic science should be directed to make new discoveries with innovative efforts to develop affordable solutions to Indian conditions.

September 30, 2013

Saffolalife’s online survey on risk of cardiovascular diseases could help Marico which positions its Saffola oil brands as healthy for heart

For decades now, experts have said that Indians are at high risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases. On September 27, Saffolalife added another bit of information to the existing literature. An analysis of data generated by an online survey by Saffolalife suggests that every age group in India is at risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The risk was quantified at 73 per cent in urban India.

May 24, 2012

Health activists push for funds with no strings attached

As Margaret Chan takes charge of her next stint as the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), one of the first tasks she has to attend to is that of reforms. The cash-strapped organisation has to figure out fast where to get funds from if it hopes to continue providing a suitable direction to global health. The UN agency gets funds from member states and philanthropists to meet its running cost.

March 12, 2012

For long, India’s vaccination programme had six vaccines for tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, whooping cough, tetanus, polio and measles. The vaccines were cheap and protected children adequately. But in the last decade, the country has been under tremendous pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to include a variety of expensive vaccines in its immunisation programme.

January 12, 2012

For the past 99 years, researchers from all parts of India have been meeting at the Indian Science Congress in the first week of January. The congress was established to popularise science and allow researchers to deliberate on crucial aspects of science relevant to the country.

April 25, 2011

An urban doctor whom I contacted for the story on hypertension in rural India told me that I would never be able to link stress to the increased incidence of the disease.

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