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Foundation of Healthcare Technologies Society
Newsletter from the Foundation of Healthcare Technologies Society | September 2021

Dear All,

I welcome you to the fourth issue of “Population Health Research, Innovation, Skills and Entrepreneurship (PHRISE)” newsletter. The pandemic has brought forth in our FHTS family coping, adaptability, resilience, and empathy to enhance the health of the populations.
 
We highlight some of the innovative initiatives aimed to address 21st century population health challenges. We highlight our initiatives such as SMAART Hackathon, our new speaker series and monthly public health quiz series as a range of opportunities to provide a platform facilitating knowledge exchange across diverse stakeholders. Our aim is to aggregate and summarize the critical highlights and demonstrate impact that FHTS is making to address equity through the lens of population health.
 
I hope you find this issue informative and engaging and look forward to sharing more about our organizing activities and contributions in our upcoming newsletter. I want to congratulate the entire team of FHTS for their perseverance, flexibility, innovation and resilience during these tough times amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Ashish Joshi PhD, MBBS, MPH

OUR MISSION
To translate research into practice through use of technology-based solutions that can empower individuals and the environment where they live in for the well-being of themselves, their families and the communities.
NEWS
RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
"Predictors of COVID-19 Vaccine acceptance, intention and hesitancy; A scoping review"
COVID-19 vaccine is regarded as the most promising means of limiting the spread of or eliminating the pandemic. The success of this strategy will rely on the rate of vaccine acceptance globally. The study aims to examine the factors that influence COVID-19 vaccine acceptance, intention, and hesitancy. PubMed was searched comprehensively for articles using the keyword “COVID-19 vaccine surveys.” Of the 192 records, 22 studies were eligible for the review. Eighty-two percent of these studies were conducted among the general population. Gender, age, education, and occupation were some of the socio-demographic variables associated with vaccine acceptance. Variables such as trust in authorities, risk perception of COVID-19 infection, vaccine efficacy, current or previous influenza vaccination, and vaccine safety affected vaccine acceptance. Globally, in March 2020, the average vaccine acceptance observed was 86% which dropped to 54% in July 2020 which later increased to 72% in September 2020. Globally, the average rate of vaccine hesitancy in April 2020 was 21%, which increased to 36% in July 2020 and later declined to 16% in October 2020. Large variability in vaccine acceptance and high vaccine hesitancy can influence the efforts to eliminate the COVID-19. Addressing the barriers and facilitators of vaccines will be crucial in implementing effective and tailored interventions to attain maximum vaccine coverage.
Click here for full article
RECENT EVENTS
COVID-19 Data Challenge
“COVID-19 Data Challenge” was organized for V-inspire Public Health interns from Amity Institute of Public health. The goal was to provide students an opportunity to develop critical skills in understanding data analysis and visualization of meaningful data findings.  Ten enthusiastic v-INSPIRE interns, currently pursuing their MPH from Amity Institute of Public Health participated in the data challenge. Each individual was allotted a specific data set related to COVID-19.
 
Individuals utilized SMAART Rapid tracker India dashboard for identifying COVID19 data trends. The goal was to present different data insights on COVID-19 data in a simple, succinct format easy to understand.

Bhagyashree Kaushal

We are happy to announce the winner for the v-INSPIRE Data challenge, Bhagyashree Kaushal. 

CONGRATULATIONS
to all other individuals for their participation!

 

Response of state policies on the burden of COVID-19
A group of v-INSPIRE interns from Amity Institute of Public health were given an assignment to prepare a presentation based on various state's policy data on the burden of COVID-19. Different States were allotted to interns and the objective of the assignment was to enhance data extraction, visualization, analysis, and presentation skills. Variable such as various policies in response to COVID- 19, infectivity rates, fatality, testing was analysed and presented in a consolidated manner.

Bhagyashree Kaushal, Stuti Bhattarai, Sai Darpan, Shambhavi Shree and Priyanka Brahma showcased best presentations.
 
Provoking Perceptions - Monthly Quiz Series
Provoking perception is a monthly quiz series created to spread awareness and promote knowledge related to current topics of concern. The theme for the August edition of the quiz was Decoding COVID-19. Total 16 teams were selected for the quiz who further competed through 5 rounds of quiz questions to finally have 3 winners. The highlight of the event was the adaptation to the virtual environment and using an interactive platform to conduct the quiz.

The event was moderated by Dr Ashish Joshi and hosted by an enthusiastic team of INSPIRE fellows, Ridima Kamal and Ridhima Luthra.

We at Foundation of Healthcare Technologies Society believe in nurturing and empowering young minds by providing them a platform where they can actively engage themselves in creation of knowledge and new ideas and facilitate knowledge exchange amongst their peers which will enable them to grow and shine as a person of Impact.  Provoking the Perception is our one such attempt for students & professionals from healthcare and beyond, across the world.

Event Timeline:
19th July 2021: FHTS announced the initiative and informative flyers and associated documents were circulated in collaboration with the social media cluster at FHTS. Registration was open for all and people could either register as a participating team of 2 members or as an attendee. 
 
30th July 2021: Registration deadline for participating teams. 
 
1st August to 4th August 2021: We received 106 Registrations, out of which 50 registrations were of participants and 56 were of attendees. 50 registrations of participants were carefully evaluated to ensure all are meeting the inclusion criteria for participation and confirmation emails were sent to all. After careful evaluation of all registrations, a total 15 teams were finally selected for the quiz who were meeting all the criteria.
 
August 5th 2021: An orientation session was organised for all the teams under the guidance of Dr Ashish Joshi and all the participating teams were familiarized with the platform that was used for the quiz as well as all the rules of the quiz were shared with them.
 
August 7th 2021: Final day of the quiz which saw healthy competition between 15 teams and a learning and fun atmosphere was created for all the participants and attendees. The quiz had in total 5 rounds with 5 questions in each round. Each round saw the elimination of a few teams. There were also rapid-fire rounds for the attendees in between the quiz rounds which kept them engrossed and a special gift was sent to the winners of those rounds.
 
After 5 grilling rounds, Top 3 Winning teams were selected at the end of Round 5.
 
The event served as an excellent knowledge exchange and fun platform for participants and attendees alike and received excellent feedback from all those who were part of it with almost everyone sharing that they are eagerly looking forward to the next edition of the quiz. 
 
Valuable guidance, great teamwork and active participation by all made the first quiz in "Provoking the Perception" Quiz Series a huge success.

WINNING TEAMS
FIRST: Team B

Sanjeev Vinod

I am pursuing MBBS from Panimalar Medical College and Research Institute. The ‘Decoding COVID -19’ quiz was a wonderful event that was very helpful to me. It provided me with a unique opportunity to learn about a relevant topic that was not limited to my academic curriculum. The quiz also enabled me to improve my team building and communication skills. I enjoyed it thoroughly and am looking forward to the next event.

 

Sarikasri.S

I am pursuing MBBS from Panimalar Medical College and Research Institute Being a part of the "DECODING COVID 19" quiz was a wonderful experience. Apart from Knowledge, it also helped improve critical thinking and prompt answering. Though, the pandemic is an everyday topic in every household and News Channel today, preparing for this quiz gave me an opportunity to learn about this in a more profound manner as a person of science should. Thank you team FHTS for providing this amazing opportunity and conducting the quiz in a laudable manner.

SECOND: Team K
Athira M and Asif Asfan Parangodath

Athira M and Asif Asfan Parangodath are Pursuing MPH from University of Hyderabad.

“FHTS Covid decoding quiz was a great experience for both of us. It gave us an opportunity to showcase our knowledge. The confidence that we gained after this programme was huge. As aspiring public health professionals, it was a stepping stone for us. The environment provided by the team FHTS is highly professional and they have done a great team work. We are looking forward to being a part of their future events” say Athira & Asif.

THIRD: Team N

Aditya Jain

The quiz on deciphering the Covid-19 was more than just a test for me; it also served as a forum for all of the participants to collaborate and bring about revolutionary change, particularly among the youth, for the betterment of society in these unprecedented times. I learned everything there is to know about COVID-19. The quiz was enlightening and entertaining. This endeavour by FHTS will certainly contribute to social integrity, a broadening of knowledge base, and future success. I am grateful to the entire team for organising this quiz in such a well-organized manner, and I hope that they will continue to do so in the future.


Aman Jain

The Quiz over decoding the Covid-19 was not merely a quiz for me, instead it provides a platform for all the participants to integrate and bring a revolutionary change, especially the young minds, for the welfare of the society in these unprecedented times. I got to know about every aspect of COVID-19. The Quiz was insightful and very interesting. This initiative by FHTS will undoubtedly lead to social integrity, expansion of knowledge base and will achieve great heights in future. I am very thankful to the entire team who organised this quiz in a well systematic way and hope that they would continue the same in future.

GLOBAL HEALTH INFORMATICS PLATFORM

Description: SMAART Rapid Tracker (Research enabled Action oriented Policy Interventions driven by Data) is an interactive policy informatics platform tracking spread of COVID-19 outbreak and policy actions globally.
Aim: This tracker was launched globally to create awareness about COVID-19 disease.
Methodology: The data has been collected from CDC, WHO, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and various publicly available information sources with the help of a team of researchers globally.
Current Trends: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) first case was reported in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December 2019, the outbreak was later recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. The current global trend of COVID-19 are as follows:
 
COLLABORATIONS

St Ann's College of Women, Hyderabad
The second batch of Nutrition informatics interns from St. Ann's College of Women,
Hyderabad successfully completed their internship with the foundation. 45 days intensive internship included a series of activities and assignments. Interns participated in sessions on Diet decision-making and consumer health informatics, they also curated customized nutrition plans, posters, and questionnaires. One of the most interesting activities was curating nutritionally potent recipes. 

SPOTLIGHT
Dr. Aishwarya Dhumale

Aishwarya has completed her Bachelors in Dental Surgery from MGM Dental College and Hospital, Navi Mumbai. She is a public health enthusiast, and has been associated with the foundation since September, 2020. Initially joined as a v-INSPIRE public health intern and joined the team in November, 2020. Aishwarya has worked on blogs, projects, events and in foundations communication division. Her areas of interest are research, health policy and epidemiology. She has completed certificate courses in health research fundamentals by ICMR, Epidemiology, Clinical trials and continues to learn. Aishwarya wishes to pursue Masters in Public Health soon.

DISCUSSION BOARD REPORT
Foundation of Healthcare Technologies Society (FHTS) had introduced a knowledge exchange platform V-Inspire Public Health Discussion Board in November 2020. There are a total of 674 members actively engaged and contributing towards generating new knowledge and facilitating a robust discussion on new and existing public health challenges.

In the month of August, the forum has created four crucial and relevant topics –
  1. Public Health Relevance of Hepatitis
  2. Reforms and Implementation of Healthcare Policies with the Advent of COVID-19.
  3. The Relevance of Climate Change in Public Health
  4. Public Health Interventions Amidst Mental Health Challenges
Discussion Post “Public Health Relevance of Hepatitis”, content analysis
Hepatitis has been a crucial communicable disease. In the LMICs, where there is a double burden of disease, the management of Hepatitis is essential. Some of the key highlights from the 16 comments of the Discussion Board are –
  • Five strategic directions were determined by the WHO (World heath Organization) strategic document – “Information for focused action, Interventions for Impact, Delivering for equity, Financing for Sustainability and Innovation for Acceleration.”
  • Management of data and documentation is essential in addressing Hepatitis as a disease - “Lack of integrity of data, as well as the lack of communication between related units, prevented timely information register of viral hepatic patients and services provided to them. Thus, implementing an electronic system for managing hepatitis - control, prevention, and treatment is a regional and national requirement. Since, this system with its empowered infrastructure is capable in providing desired services to all laboratories, counselling and health centres, specialised clinics, and physicians connected to the hepatitis network.”
  • The stakeholders for the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan – “Federal and Non-federal partners. New laboratory tools and techniques can help us better understand and identify transmission among networks of individuals at risk, improve algorithms to screen and identify individuals with hepatitis B infection, and promote improved viral hepatitis testing technologies. Federal partners will work toward developing standardised laboratory techniques, update practical and reliable algorithms for screening in high-risk populations, and develop more quantitative tests for use in diagnosis and monitoring viral Hepatitis.”
Discussion Post “Reforms and implementation of Healthcare Policies with the Advent of COVID-19” content analysis
  • Some examples of policies that got implemented in various countries striving to fight COVID-19 include – “Closure of non-essential services – Many European countries such as Italy, France and Spain temporarily closed restaurants and bars, as well as shops and recreational facilities, amongst others.”
  • Region-wise policy implementation, considering the barriers – “Addressing the Information Asymmetry in Singapore– Access to health information and sufficient health literacy. Awareness about the different insurance schemes in the country is a mandate. Health knowledge, attitudes, and perspective surveys, which characterise health-seeking behaviour and willingness-to-pay for health, can be organised to determine effective community health interventions to educate and empower migrant workers on healthcare utilisation.”
  • “To effectively manage the outbreak, the Indian government also leveraged technology and developed various applications both at the central and state levels. The Aarogya Setu mobile app, which assisted in syndromic mapping, contact tracing, and self-assessment, was widely used throughout the country.”
  • Addressing the different gaps in the healthcare infrastructure – “The healthcare efforts of a growing economy like India through the NHP 2017 has been dimmed in the effect of the ongoing pandemic. An evaluation of the NHP has shown that it must incorporate measures to tackle all hurdles faced during the current COVID 19 pandemic, like the shortage of medical and para-medical staff, hospital infrastructure and supplies, and inadequate expenditure of GDP on public healthcare. It is therefore imperative to make a note of the inadequacies experienced in the current pandemic to identify key points for improvement in policies and make the necessary reforms for a better future for all.”
Discussion Post “Relevance of Climate Change in Public Health” content analysis
Responses shed light on some key points as:
  • Climate change directly adding to disease related concerns – “Injuries and deaths caused by severe weather and heatwaves; infectious diseases caused by changes in vector biology, water, and food contamination; allergic symptoms caused by increased allergen production; respiratory and cardiovascular diseases caused by worsening air pollution; and nutritional shortages caused by changes in food production are all major concerns”. “Heat stroke and exhaustion are already some of the most directly heat-related illnesses, but heat stress could also cause or exacerbate cardiovascular and kidney problems.” In the same segment – “Malaria is strongly influenced by climate. Transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes, malaria kills over 400 000 people every year – mainly children under 5 years old in certain African countries”.
  • Indirect impacts of climate change on malnutrition - “Climate change also cause loss of seasonal crops which causes serious malnutrition in remote area of country where access to medical facilities is most difficult”.
  • Harms that climate change could cause to mental health – “The CDC suggest that climate change and higher temperatures have a negative effect on depression and other mental health conditions. Extreme temperatures can also change how certain medications, such as schizophrenia treatments, work in the body. In addition, they may affect people’s ability to regulate their body temperature correctly.”
  • Few examples where climate issues can be reduced – “Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants can also improve regional air quality, with direct benefits for respiratory and cardiovascular health. Reducing vehicle miles travelled by encouraging walking, bicycling, and transit use can not only reduce motor vehicle contributions to climate change, it can also promote physical activity, an important solution to the obesity epidemic”. “Further, raising awareness on the threats that climate change presents to human health, and opportunities to promote health while cutting carbon emissions”. Other measures that can be taken up - “Prepare a review about vulnerable areas and population which are at the risk of being affected. Collect empirical data on occurrence of climate change limits leading to vector-borne diseases, their mode of transmission and the methods to curtail them. Surveillance of diseases”. “Geoengineering or Earth manipulation—additional, deliberate intervention in the Earth system that tries to counteract some of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions”.
  • Some users also highlighted how social disparities have been significant in causing greater damage and exposure to the poor on grounds of health and climate adversities, which should enable policymakers to go for region-wise mitigation strategies.
Discussion Post “Public Health Interventions Amidst Mental Health Challenges” content analysis
Reflected on the change which has been seen in the Mental Health backdrop across the globe. A much-stigmatised issue, the conversation about mental health was much needed. Some of the highlights from the Discussion Board are –
  • Stressing on enhanced research and evidence-based policymaking – “Mental health services research aims to address unmet needs by increasing access and enhancing treatment quality.”
  • Identification of the gaps and addressing them – “Practitioners should also strive to eliminate health disparities and provide equitable access to health services. Identifying risk factors for mental illness, such as trauma and chronic health conditions, plays an important role in implementing prevention programs.”
  • Involving the community for the interventions – “community interventions as those that involve multi-sector partnerships, emphasize community members as integral to the intervention, and/or deliver services in community settings. We examine literature in seven topic areas: collaborative care, early psychosis, school-based interventions, homelessness, criminal justice, global mental health, and mental health promotion/prevention.”
  • “World Health Organization (WHO) developed the mental health Gap Action Programme Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG) to reduce the reduce the global mental health treatment Gap. For improving access to high quality mental health services, four areas required attention:  it is imperative to build mental health system treatment and improve research capacity of researchers. Secondly, stigma associated with mental disorder should be addressed. In addition to it, prevention program should be implemented to decrease the incidence of mental disorders and evidence based interventions should be used for mental health treatment.”
SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS REPORT
August 2021
  • Instagram content interactions has increased by 26.8% with 18.9% increase in accounts reached through posts. The followers on Instagram also increased by 11.4%.
  • Facebook content reach is 417 with 236 engagements and 12 link clicks. Stories also got 299 unique opens. Around 87.6% people were engaged in India followed by 3.5% in US, 1.6% in Canada, 1.3% in Kenya and so on.
  • On LinkedIn, 1617 views per post on an average.
  • On Twitter, 50 to 100 impressions and 2 to 3 engagements per activity.
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