NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Biswajit Paul

Project: Chronic Respiratory Disease and Lung Cancer: Development and pilot testing of an intervention in a southern Indian rural community (Embedded PhD project)

PhD overview

  • Acute or chronic:  Chronic
  • Country:  India
  • Based at: Christian Medical College, Vellore
  • Start date:  01 April 2018
  • End date:  31 March 2021
  • Supervisors: David Weller, Liz Grant, Rita Isaac
  • Email:
Biswajit Paul Headshot
RESPIRE PhD student: Biswajit Paul


Chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) in low resource settings are neglected and often poorly diagnosed, leading to missed opportunities for early initiation of treatment and poor patient pathways.

For example, in India, lung cancer often emerges on a background of chronic respiratory symptoms and is often not diagnosed at all – or at a very late stage. Because of late presentation and a range of other factors, survival from lung cancer in India is very low.

At present we know very little about how knowledge and attitudes relating to CRD in poor, rural populations in India might be influenced by health and behavioural interventions. Psychological theory-based interventions must be culturally appropriate and grounded in the local context. As such, it’s vital we develop this understanding if we are to change behaviours and reduce exposure to common risk factors, such as smoking and indoor cooking smoke.

Aim and impact

The aim of this PhD is to gather evidence, through a systematic review, about a Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) based educational intervention on health behaviours and disease outcomes in chronic diseases in low resource, low health literacy settings. This knowledge will be used for developing and pilot testing a culturally suitable TPB-based educational intervention, as part of a wider RESPIRE project.

This hypothesis tries to prove that a TPB-based educational intervention can lead to better respiratory health and a healthier lifestyle among CRD patients. Replicability of this model in similar settings could have huge implications in respiratory health throughout the world.

Find out more about the wider RESPIRE project on adult lung disease

Project data

Download the project Data Management Plan

View project metadata on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway

View associated project data on Edinburgh DataShare


Theory of planned behaviour-based interventions in chronic diseases among low health-literacy population: protocol for a systematic review

Paul B, Kirubakaran R, Isaac R, Dozier M, Grant L, Weller D, RESPIRE Collaboration

Syst Rev 11, 127 (2022).

About me

My research interests lie in the field of non-communicable diseases and cancer. I have research experience in the field of verbal autopsy, poisoning, cervical and oral cancer screening programs and m-health related service implementation.

I’m a medical doctor with a postgraduate degree in Community Medicine/Public Health. I am a faculty member in the department of Community Health at Christian Medical College, Vellore, India, and my areas of involvement include medical health care, student teaching activities and translational research in common health problems of the country.

My aim is to make a significant contribution to society through research and academic discourse.

Three-Minute Thesis-Style Video Competition

For the RESPIRE ASM Showcase on the 24th November 2020, the RESPIRE PhD students recorded videos explaining their research, as part of a Three-Minute Thesis-Style Video Competition. Watch Biswajit's presentation below.

Video: PAUL, Biswajit
RESPIRE 3-Minute Thesis-Style Video Competition - PAUL, Biswajit - Improving health behaviour in patients with chronic respiratory disease using theory of planned behaviour-based educational intervention: Development and Pilot testing in rural south India