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Varad Puntambekar

DPhil Student


  • MSc Translational Health Sciences, University of Oxford 2023
  • MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery), All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 2020


After completing my MBBS degree from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, I worked as a NIRMA Public Health Fellow in a rural and tribal region with the not-for-profit Society for Education Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH). Here, I managed the Community COVID-19 campaign which involved developing guidelines for the local community, training community health workers, and conducting vaccination drives. I also conducted a situational analysis of a decentralized alcohol deaddiction system, which involved shadowing clinicians and parallel law enforcement officers in villages.

I am supported by the Rhodes Scholarship to work with the Health Systems Collaborative.


  • Working Title: Improving Access to Cancer Diagnostics in a Region in India
  • The diagnostic gap is the biggest challenge in the care pathway, where only a few patients are receiving a proper diagnosis. The ones who are diagnosed, receive treatment. To tackle this issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed an Essential Diagnostics List, which lists the essential diagnostics that should be available in all healthcare settings. The Indian government has adopted this list to suit its healthcare system, but access to diagnostics is still highly unequal and complex. In my thesis, I aim to improve access to cancer diagnostics in Madhya Pradesh, a state in Central India.