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Dr Prabha Desikan

Prabha Desikan is an alumna of MGIMS—she belongs to the class of 1984. She is Director of the ICMR-Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (ICMR-BMHRC), Bhopal, a 350 bedded superspecialty hospital with a mandate to provide free tertiary healthcare to the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. She has facilitated delivery of free cardiology, cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, gastroenterology and other services through the Ayushman Bharat scheme to those patients unable to afford even the subsidized charges. In addition, she has steered the institute towards becoming a Post Graduate Medical Teaching Institute. Further, she has streamlined an outreach health care programme to provide free primary health care in densely populated urban areas of Bhopal.

Prabha Desikan is a microbiologist, having qualified under the mentorship of Prof. Pratibha Narang at MGIMS. Though eligible for admission to postgraduate courses in many of the much sought after clinical disciplines, she chose a path less trodden. This decision was partly the result of her having been influenced by the work of her father—Dr KV Desikan—and his colleagues on Mycobacterium leprae. Her conviction that she could contribute more effectively as a microbiologist in dealing with the burden of infectious diseases, did the rest.

A tryst with tuberculosis put her firmly on the path of tuberculosis control. She has established a National Reference Laboratory for Tuberculosis in ICMR-BMHRC, with responsibilities for overseeing TB laboratory services in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Goa. Her laboratory is also a CDSCO designated laboratory for conducting performance evaluation of in vitro diagnostic - analyser, instrument and software, for detection of tuberculosis. Her recent research mainly involves molecular studies on Mycobacterium tuberculosis. She has served on national expert groups and committees on tuberculosis, and has contributed to policy decisions on tuberculosis control in the country.

Prior to joining ICMR-BMHRC, she has worked on electron microscopic studies on polioviruses and molecular epidemiology of rotaviruses at the Christian Medical College, Vellore. A stint at the Riyadh National Hospital, Riyadh followed. She has been invited to deliver guest lectures at many fora, and has been awarded membership of the National Academy of Medical Sciences.

Prabha has trained in Indian classical music and dance. Her interests include reading, gardening, and volunteering at a centre for handicapped individuals. Widely appreciated for her writing skills, Prabha brings clarity, coherence and credibility in her papers.

Last Modified: Friday 07 June 2024.

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