PhD Geography (medical geography), retired professor of the University of Kashmir, Srinagar (India), National Fellow ICSSR (Indian Council of Social Science Research) and CSIR (Centre for the Study of Regional Development), emer. scientist Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, adjunct professor of the International Institute of Health Management and Research, New Delhi, visiting professor of the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh (India).
Geography (environment and health, medical geography, climate change and human health); India, Zambia.

Prof.Rais Akhtar  is acknowledged as the first person to make a serious attempt to develop the discipline of Medical Geography in India. After completing his PhD in 1976 on Environment, Agriculture and Nutrition in the Kumaon Region, his research activities have singularly been devoted to this subject-which deals with environmental perspectives of disease and healthcare planning based on geographical characteristics.

His most important contributions include the study of area of spatial patterns of resurgence of malaria in India and a detailed study of factors that have to be taken note of in healthcare planning of geographically diverse areas. Thus he has contributed to various aspect s of the role of Medical Geography and Disease Ecology. Nominee’s work carried out in collaboration with the well-known British Geographer Prof. A.T.A. Learmanth on the resurgence of malaria in India which was first published in 1977, was greatly appreciated by Dr. C. Gopalan, the then Director-General of I.C.M.R. who promptly brought it to the notice of the National Malaria Eradication Programme (Letter from D.G. ICMR attached in the certificates).

He is the only Medical Geographer in India whose work has been acclaimed globally in this field and is evident from invitation to deliver lectures on his findings from about 55 Universities, Geography Departments and Medical Institutes in the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, France,Japan,Mexico, Canada and Hong Kong. These include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene,Bologna Hospital, Bologna and the Nuffield Institute for Health, Leeds.

His findings have been widely cited in Indian as well as International publications:

  1. The following paper of R. Akhtar is being used in Medical Geography teaching courses in Kansas State University, USA. R. Akhtar (2003) Medical Geography: Has J.M. May Borrowed M. Sorre’s 1933 Concept of Pathogenic Complexes, Cybergeo: European Journal of Geography, No. 236, 12 March.
  2. The following of the nominee jointly with NilofarIzhar, is being used for teaching purpose in health courses of Nuffield Institute for Health, Leeds (U.K.). R. Akhtar and N. Izhar (1988): The spatial distribution of health resources within countries and communities, Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 22, pp. 1115-1129.

Prof. Akhtar is the recipient of a number of International Fellowships including Liverhulme Overseas Fellow (University of Liverpool), Henri Chapman Fellowship (University of

London), Visiting Fellowship (University of Sussex), Royal Society’s Short Visiting Fellowship (University of Oxford) and Visiting Professorship (University of Paris-10).

Prof.RaisAkhtar is pre-eminent in introducing and pursuing the discipline of Medical Geography in India in order to study the prevalence of certain non-communicable and communicable diseases and the resurgence of the latter.

His detailed mapping has also provided evidence that there is a Regional or Spatial variation in the distribution of certain cancers in India and that their nature is related to the region’s geographical or physical characteristics especially if they occur as (i) an environmental deficiency or as (ii) an overload.. Amongst the ones with such a correlation that he has established arc the oral cancers in Kerala due to the presence of the mineral (monazite) and radioactive elements in the soil.


Planning Commission:Ministry of Health and family welfare Working Group:

His other noteworthy contribution made by RaisAkhtar is establishing that for an efficient healthcare delivery system to he made possible in India, at first a geographical study of its existing status of healthcare centres needs to be undertaken. During his tenure as member of the Planning Commission/Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Working Group on Health and Population Prof. Akhtar’s proposal to the Planning Commission on this aspect were included in the location analysis of healthcare planning in the Eighth Plan Document.

Prof.Akhtar’s efforts led to the introduction of medical geography at the Universities in Zambia in 1982 and in Kashmir in 1986 respectively and he became an important source of inspiration for medical geographers in other universities.

Prof. RaisAkhtar was nominated as Lead Author of IPCC in 1999 and received Nobel Memento after IPCC received Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.


International Geographical Union (IGU):

Prof.RaisAkhtar was Member of the IGU Working Group on Environment and Health during 1988-2000.

Social science and Medicine (Elsevier):Prof.Akhtar was one of the Advisory Editors  from 1996-2002.

Key Publications

Resurgence of Malaria in India 1965-76, GeoJournal, (Germany), Vol. 1, No.5, 1977, pp. 69-79 (Joint Author A.T.A. Learmonth).

Medical Geography: Has J.M. May  Borrowed  M.Sorre’s 1933 Concept of Pathogenic Complexes?, Cybergeo: European Journal of Geography  (France), No. 236, 12 March,2003

Rainfall and Malaria Outbreaks in Western Rajasthan, The Lancet (U.K.), Vol. 348, November 3, 1996, pp. 1457-1458 (Joint Author Tony Mc Michael).

Environment and Cholera in Kashmir During Nineteenth Century, Indian Journal of History of Science,,  (INSA) Vol.43,No.2,,2008,pp.211-230

El-Nino Related Health Hazards in India ,Current Science, Vol.98,No.2, Vol.98,No.2,2010,pp.144-147