A webinar on Health Data Ecosystem and Pandemic Preparedness was held with Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor, CMC Vellore; Dr Sanghamitra Pati, Director, ICMR Bhubaneswar; and Dr Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Professor, University of East Anglia. Dr Aravinda Meera Guntupalli, Senior Lecturer in Global Health, University of Aberdeen, was the discussant. The discussion was moderated by Dr Arokiasamy Perianayagam, Professor, NCAER.
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought into focus the need for a more comprehensive integrated health data ecosystem to generate real-time data for enabling policy decisions. Public health systems, policy response, and pandemic preparedness depend on the quality and range of health ecosystem data, including the speed and efficiency of data analysis. The World Health Organization (WHO) envisions a world where people are better protected and safer from health emergencies, irrespective of the locations and circumstances in which they live. The public health response to the ongoing pandemic in a high-resource setting shows how the data ecosystem system can be used as an effective information, knowledge, and policy tool for tackling health emergencies and augmenting preparedness by leveraging and linking different data sources. These diverse sources of data could include clinical settings, primary care, diagnostic laboratories, public health surveillance systems, clinical research, emergency departments, epidemiology, and multidisciplinary studies. It is also imperative to use innovative approaches for capturing data and harnessing the existing resources during ‘peace-time’ for building infrastructure capabilities to deal with pandemic outbreaks. This seminar deliberated on the lessons learnt and the infrastructure that would be needed through forecasting and prediction models to facilitate decision-making in the real world through adaptation to operational realities.
Gagandeep Kang, Professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, and currently, Executive Director of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad, recently became the first Indian woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society. Dr Kang’s research focuses on viral infections in children, the testing of rotaviral vaccines and other enteric infections. She has written extensively on COVID-19 policy response, including the book, Till We Win: India’s Fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic, co-authored with Chandrakant Lahariya and Randeep Guleria, (Penguin, 2020).
Sanghamitra Pati, a physician-cum-scientist, is currently the Director of Regional Medical Research Centre of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Bhubaneswar, Odisha. She is an expert in public health and has worked extensively on multi-morbidity research in public health settings. She has also been a lead in the first ever study of multi-morbidity in India.
Peter Lloyd-Sherlock is Professor of Social Policy and International Development at the University of East Anglia. His main area of research encompasses social protection, health, and the well-being of older people in developing countries. He is also interested in the economic and social effects of non-communicable diseases, such as stroke, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Aravinda Meera Guntupalli is Senior Lecturer in Global Health, University of Aberdeen. Her research interests are motivated by welfare issues, nutrition, and health. Her recent work is on gender differentials and well-being; nutritional transition, and health inequalities across the life course; and non-communicable diseases and non-monetary indicators of poverty and health in later life mostly using quantitative methods and/or historical perspective. Her research covers various countries, including India, the UK, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.
Arokiasamy Perianayagam is a Professor at NCAER leading research programmes in the area of health and health economics.
He has been a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Policy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, and prior to that, served as Professor and Head of the Department of Development Studies at the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, where he served as faculty for over three decades. His areas of teaching and research expertise cover demography; public health and health economics; ageing and global health development studies; and, large-scale health survey research.