26 When consulted about their health problems, people from the tribal and rural regions of Gadchiroli reported back and limb pain as one of their top health problems. Furthermore, patients with other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes have become more frequent in our rural hospital indicating a need to study the burden of these disorders in rural and tribal regions of Gadchiroli. Tobacco and alcohol use are important risk factors for chronic diseases including cancers and both of them are heavily used in Gadchiroli district.


In collaboration with the Spine Foundation, Mumbai and the Department of Rheumatology, Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, studies were conducted to assess the burden of musculoskeletal back and joint pain in rural Gadchiroli. Monitoring causes of death in a community gives important information about the disease priorities. We evaluated the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases by evaluating the causes of death in a population of 100,000 in rural Gadchiroli using a method called verbal autopsy. Stroke emerged as a leading cause of death and accounted for one out of every seven deaths in the entire population. To measure the problem of stroke in further details, a study was conducted to enumerate the survivors of stroke in a population of 45,000. This was the first study to be conducted in rural regions of India after a gap of 20 years and showed that stroke is common in rural Gadchiroli. There were four patients of stroke for every 1000 population, higher than that seen with common public health problems such as tuberculosis. Although stroke causes many deaths and leads to disability, it is also a preventable disease. Controlling blood pressure among those with high blood pressure has resulted in decrease in stroke deaths in developed countries. Can this also be done in rural Gadchiroli where there are very few healthcare facilities and doctors? We are conducting a community-based study to evaluate the effect of an intervention to control hypertension, diabetes and risk reduction for stroke on stroke deaths. The study is funded by the Wellcome Trust/Department of Biotechnology India Alliance. Tobacco use is very common in Gadchiroli and about 70% adults using tobacco in some form. This increases the risk of cancer. In order to measure the burden of cancer we have started a population-based cancer registry in collaboration with the Tata Cancer Hospital, Mumbai , the leading cancer research centre in India.
Dr. Yogeshwar Kalkonde joined SEARCH in 2011 as a senior research consultant and a neurologist. He is the team leader for the Rural Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Research Programme. He is trained in internal medicine at Government Medical College, Nagpur and has a Master’s degree in Clinical Investigation from the University of Texas, San Antonio, USA. He is trained in neurology from the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Neurology. He has worked as a faculty in the Department of Neurology at the Baylor College of Medicine before joining SEARCH. He also works as a consultant in Medicine and Neurology at the rural hospital of SEARCH and provides clinical care. He is a recipient of the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance’s intermediate fellowship in public health.   Dr Sunil Jadhao is a physician by training and has a postgraduate degree in public health. He is working as the research officer in the Rural Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Research Programme. His earlier pursuits included three years in various programs related to TB-HIV, disease surveillance and household air pollution. Dr Manveen Kaur  An MBBS doctor by training, Manveen joined this team in January 2017. She works as the cancer registrar in the Rural Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Research Programme. Umesh Jadhav is an IT engineer. He has joined SEARCH as a data analyst. He is responsible for data management and analysis of the data from the Rural Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Research Programme. Dr Vidhya Bhusari is a physician working in the stroke mortality reduction study. She is trained in Ayurvedic medicine from Government Ayurvedic College, Nagpur. Sarita Logade is a pharmacist working in the stroke mortality reduction study.  Sarita is a fantastic cook & pursues painting in free time . Shriram Dumane, looks after the travel arrangements and registration of patients in stroke mortality reduction study. Mahesh Kawatwar is a social worker working in the stroke mortality reduction study. Mohan Kukudkar a field supervisor in the stroke mortality reduction study.