Webinar on “Indigenizing Systematic Review Evidence for Policy Decisions in India”

March 06, 2021

Manipal College of Nursing (MCON), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and Public Health Evidence South Asia (PHESA), Prasanna School of Public Health (PSPH), MAHE, Manipal, organized a webinar on “Indigenizing Systematic Review Evidence for Policy Decisions in India” in collaboration with EPPI-Centre, Social Research Institute, University College London, UK.

The objective of the webinar was to gain expert opinion and views of all the relevant stakeholders on a handbook based on Indigenizing systematic review evidence for the Indian context. This handbook is an important outcome of the prestigious SPARC grant received by MCON, MAHE, Manipal; PHESA, PSPH, MAHE; and UCL, UK.

Dr Anice George, Dean, MCON, MAHE, Manipal welcomed the gathering and introduced the stakeholders and project team members.

Dr Baby S Nayak, Professor, MCON, MAHE, Manipal, who is the Indian Principal Investigator (PI) of the project gave the overview of SPARC and presented the plan for the development of the handbook on indigenizing systematic review evidence for the Indian context. She also elaborated on the first four chapters that were planned for development of the handbook. This was followed by a presentation of the next five chapters by Dr Bhumika T V, Assistant Professor and Coordinator, PHESA, PSPH, MAHE, Manipal, who is one of the co-investigators for the project. 

Following the presentations on the planned chapters of the handbook, Dr H. Vinod Bhat, Executive Vice President, MAHE, Manipal addressed the gathering and expressed his happiness about the continuing collaboration between the project team of MAHE, Manipal and UCL, London, UK. He stressed the importance of not only peer-reviewed publications but also the importance of addressing issues of the common man. He also told that the information that is conveyed to the common man, commonly termed health literacy, should be as simple as possible and should be conveyed in the tone and tenor of the common man. He conveyed that the project team should bring out the book in a logical sequence and address the definite gaps that require attention from the policymakers as well as the researchers.

This was followed by discussion and inputs from the stakeholders for the planned content of chapters as well as the sub-chapters of the handbook. The stakeholders who actively participated in the discussion and suggested their inputs for the content of the handbook were:  Dr Anju Sinha, Deputy Director General (Scientist E), Indian Council of Medical Research, Government of India, Dr Manoj Das, Director Projects, The INCLEN Trust International New Delhi, Dr N. Sreekumaran Nair, Prof and Head (Biostatistics), Department of Biometrics, JIPMER, Puducherry, India, Dr Rati Balachandran, Assistant Director General Nursing, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Dr  Srinivas Darak, Senior Researcher, Prayas Amrita Clinic, Prayas Health Group, Pune and Dr Prabhath Kalkura, Consultant at Karnataka state disaster management authority, supported by UNICEF. The stakeholders also included officials, academicians, public health practitioners and clinicians from MAHE Manipal,  who included Dr H Vinod Bhat, Executive Vice President, MAHE, Dr Unnikrishnan B, Additional Dean and Professor (Department of Community Medicine), Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Mangalore, Dr Sanjay Pattanshetty, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy, PSPH, MAHE, Dr Ravindra Prabhu A, Professor and Head of Unit, Nephrology, KMC, Manipal and Dr Chakrapani M, Professor, Department of Medicine, KMC, Mangalore

The inputs provided by Prof Helmut Brand, Director, Prasanna School of Public Health,  Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal added additional value to the chapters of the handbook.

For the concluding remarks, Prof Sandy Oliver, Director, Social Research Institute, and Deputy Director, EPPI- Centre, University College London, UK, who is the International Principal Investigator (PI) for the project thanked the presenters for presenting the plan of the development of the handbook. She said that it was a thought-provoking session and a fascinating discussion with the stakeholders, and people who implement and initiate policy decisions. She reiterated their suggestions to have an insight on what evidence needs to be considered for policy making, focus on the whole policy making process, and even include stakeholders like NGOs who influence policy making. She emphasized that as stakeholders suggested, evidence needs to be indigenized not only to India but also to different States within India to serve State decision making in policies, as health is the state's responsibility. Further, she said,  suggested how the gap in local evidence alongside global evidence could be brought out as a live document. She conveyed that she is looking forward to working with the project team at MAHE taking into consideration the implications of the discussions of the webinar for enhancing the content of the handbook that is already in the process of development.

Following this, a very encouraging announcement was done by  Dr H Vinod Bhat where he stated that Manipal Academy of Higher Education was selected as one of the nine Cochrane Affiliate Centres in India, by Cochrane, which elicited congratulatory remarks from the stakeholders and the participants of the webinar, recognizes MAHE Manipal as one of the affiliated centres.  

Following this, the moderators of the webinar, Dr Judith A Noronha, Associate Dean and Professor, MCON, Manipal & Dr Preethy D’Souza, Research Associate, Social Research Institute, UCL Institute of Education, UK invited discussion and inputs from the stakeholders, which was followed by open discussion. Participants eagerly provided their comments and suggestions as well as congratulated the project team. The webinar ended with a vote of thanks rendered by the moderators.