“Strengthening the Resilience of India’s Plural Health System: Lessons from the COVID19 Crisis”
Dr. Saradindu Bhaduri Associate Professor Centre for Studies in Science Policy Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)– New Delhi
Dr. V.Sujatha Professor Centre for the Study of Social Systems Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)– New Delhi
Dr. Sundar Sarukkai Founder Barefoot Philosophers Bengaluru.
Dr. Harilal Madhavan Development Economist Indian Institute of Science and Education Research, Thiruvananthapuram
Dr. Unnikrishnan P.M. Visiting Professor The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU) – Bengaluru
In the first webinar of this series, we unpacked the concept of resilience and its origins in different disciplines and the role of pluralistic healthcare approaches in times of pandemic like COVID-19. In the second webinar, we will continue the theme, exploring the concept and role of frugal innovations and their relevance in strengthening the resilience of India’s plural health system. We will also have an exposition of the response of Siddha to the COVID pandemic, to add to our understanding of the resilience shown by various health knowledge systems
The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU) – Bengaluru in collaboration with Institute of Public Health (IPH) – Bengaluru and Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharalal Neharu University (JNU) – New-Delhi
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up challenges on multiple fronts and health systems are not exceptional. In fact, even the developed countries with better health systems struggled or struggling to cope with the burden and impact of the corona pandemic. With COVID-19, the beliefs and systems that we follow are bound to change. We should not only focus on returning to normalcy, rather, the time is more relevant now than ever to revamp and rejuvenate the Indian plural health system and seek long term sustainable solutions. In this webinar we would like to highlight the key lessons from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the way forward to build resilience of India’s plural health system.
Dr. Upendra Bhojani was invited to be a member of a Technical Advisory Panel for the South Asian Regional Consortium Centre for Combating Tobacco (SARC-CCT), Colombo. Other members of the Technical Advisory Panel include Dr. Rana J Singh, Prof. Stella Bialous, Dr. Tara Singh Bam and Dr. Mary Assunta.
The SARC-CCT Technical Advisory Panel represents the regional and international experts who work in the tobacco control field, who are able to help advise and offer guidance to the SARC-CCT. This consortium has representatives from the South Asian states, including Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, India & Sri Lanka. The consortium was first set up and inaugurated in July 2019 as a tobacco observatory, the main purpose of which is to monitor tobacco industry activities and implementation of FCTC Article 5.3 in the region of South Asia. The first meeting of the consortium was held on 30th July 2020 and is scheduled to occur once in three months.
The India HPSR fellowships program is an effort towards the capacity building by
1) Providing HPSR skills and competencies to mid-career researchers and an opportunity to implement an HPSR project AND
2) Developing a national network of HPSR researchers, institutions, and stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of health policy and systems research work.
The program is being developed for the Indian context in consultation with experts in national and global HPSR, with attention to pedagogy and content to be covered. On 24 June 2020, a curriculum review workshop was conducted where 30 invited experts reviewed the curriculum drafted for the fellowship and provided feedback.
We aim to identify about 20 Indian mid-career researchers, who have some experience with public health research, having led full/part of a research study that is published in a peer-reviewed journal or has good-quality publicly available scientific reports. Typically, between 3 to 7 years of experience in public health research. By education, the typical participant has a post-graduation level educational qualification in health/related field or comparable in experience to post-graduate training. S/he will have basic knowledge of research methods in public health even if their knowledge and/or experience is limited to a specific discipline/method. Participant selection is planned through an open and competitive call. A call for participants will be widely circulated and promoted to invite applications in mid of July 2020. Participants will need to support their application with a preliminary research question based on a health system problem they have identified, motivation letter and two recommendation letters. An initial screening process shall exclude applications that do not fit the criteria (age, educational qualifications, and experience). After that, a two-step selection process will be implemented. In the first step, a panel of invited peer reviewers shall grade each application based on a rubric that includes (a) Potential for the application of a systems/complexity lens to the health systems research question that is submitted, (b) Fit of motivation (as stated in the motivation letter) with overall objectives of the course, (c) Candidate fit in terms of qualification and experience based on CV & recommendation letters. In a second step, the candidates shall be ranked according to their scores and a selection committee shall identify 20 short-list and 10 wait-list candidates who shall be offered the fellowship. The selection committee shall consist of a panel of HPSR researchers involved in the curriculum drafting process and senior practitioners of HPSR. A transparent review process will be conducted to identify the first cohort for the training. We plan to enroll 20 fellows/ researchers as the first batch of HPSR fellows. Fellowship offered will be conditional to an agreement to participate fully for a period of 18 months including the blended training, contact classes, and mentoring and shall include a commitment to follow the full research cycle from developing the research question to publication and policy/public engagement.
DURATION AND STRUCTURE OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM
We plan to deliver this training program for over one and a half years. The content will be delivered in a blended format using both the online (e-learning) and face-to-face training methods. The phases of training are designed to achieve the learning outcomes. Backward design is used in developing the curriculum and training plan. Backward design is a method in curriculum development that is driven by the learning outcomes and assessments envisaged. The course is designed to be pedagogically sound and relevant to the real-world scenario. It promises to be a rich experience with national and international HPSR experts being involved in the preparation and delivery of knowledge, along with their personal experiences, some of whom will be involved as mentors during the final phase of the course. The fellowship will cover the tuition fees for the course, the travel and accommodation expenses for the face to face session and a seed research grant for select participants who have completed the online and face to face sessions with honors.
A “learning together” workshop-cum-webinar to collectively understand the differential effects of COVID-19 on individuals and communities. Members from underrepresented and marginalized communities will share their community’s experience of living through the pandemic and the lockdown’s impact on livelihood.
It will kindle discussions among the participants on the following key questions:
What can we learn about the pandemic’s experience in particular individuals/communities/contexts?
What brought about such a vulnerability in the first place?
How could we mitigate the effects of such vulnerability in similar contexts?
Dr. Gita Sen Founder & Member of the Executive Committee of Development Alternatives with Women. Currently serves on the Scientific & Technical Advisory Group of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research. Co-chair of PAHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Gender Equality and Health. Gender & Health Scholar with Multiple academic affiliations to Indian and Global academic centers of excellence.
IPH Oration series is a public event, please feel free todisseminate the flyer among your networks – Download Flyer
In a project commissioned by the State Anti-Tobacco Cell (Dept Health and Family Welfare Services, GOK), Riddhi and Upendra, researchers at the DEEP project at IPH, with the help of intern Neema Joseph, historically mapped and analyzed various tobacco-related litigations in Karnataka high court in order to identify the stakeholders as well as common laws/arguments used by these stakeholders in shaping tobacco regulations in Karnataka. The project sought to answer two main questions:
1. What have been the legislations and major arguments used by petitioners in litigations challenging tobacco control regulations in Karnataka?
2. Who have been the stakeholders engaged directly in litigations related to tobacco in Karnataka?
Upon completion of the study, we presented this work to members of the Tobacco Control Alliance in a meeting organized by the department on 26th July 2020 and later submitted a report of the study physically to the Deputy Director, Dr. Selvaraj who also leads the tobacco control initiative. We discussed a possible follow-up to the study, centred around convening of lawyers and select petitioners, and studying a few key litigations in Karnataka. We believe such insights can help the state government pre-empt legal challenges as well as develop an effective stakeholder-specific response to legal challenges. The team hopes to write and publish a paper based on this work.
A team from the Chronic Health Conditions and Public Policies cluster at IPH had undertaken a consultancy project with Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation and Salaam Bombay Foundation. This project involved the evaluation of the LifeFirst program, a standardized tobacco- and supari- cessation program conceived and implemented by the Salaam Bombay Foundation and Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation since 2012. The Program targets students studying in 7th to 9th grades in corporation (local government) funded/managed schools in Mumbai city.
The study design, a prospective quasi-experimental design, was conceptualised by researchers Upendra and Pragati at IPH and the program was implemented by the team in Mumbai. The analysis of the study data was led by Amiti with the support of Upendra and Pragati and we found that the program was indeed effective, where the program not only reduced the rates of tobacco and supari use significantly, but also served as a protective factor, protecting against new uptake of tobacco and supari use. This is an important finding: schools are an excellent site for health promotion activities but are rarely used as much as they should and furthermore, such school programs are rarely evaluated for their effectiveness. This collaborative study delivers on both, the health promotion program and the evaluation of this program. The present consultancy was closed with the completion of the project and submission of the final report. We look forward to further collaboration with the team at Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation & Salaam Bombay Foundation.
On May 29th, 2020 the National Summit was held virtually, the main theme was on “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use” , and organised “by Resource Centre for Tobacco Control (E-RCTC), PGIMER Chandigarh in collaboration with Strategic Institute of Public Health Education and Research (SIPHER), Chandigarh and The Union South-East Asia (The Union).” The summit (schedule accessible here) was intended to train public health professionals and tobacco control practitioners on the ways in which the tobacco industry seeks to influence the youth; and the strategies and tactics that can be applied to keep the tobacco industry in check.
Dr. Upendra Bhojani was invited to be a participant in the plenary session on the above theme at the Summit and the recording can be accessed here.
Dr. Prashanth N S, Faculty and DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance Fellow has been invited as a member of the Governing Council of Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp (Belgium) as a co-opted member for a term. Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp aims at the advancement and spread of the sciences that contribute to tropical medicine and to public health in developing countries, inclusive of their global dimensions.