Indian Institute of Public Health, Delhi (IIPHD)
Team working with NCDC:
One team of faculty members and students started their work on 9th March 2020 after a discussion between senior officials at PHFI and senior officials of MoHFW, GoI and NCDC, Delhi. The team were given a list of names of 14 COVID positive patients admitted at Safdarjung hospital with COVID-19, and were asked to collect data of these patients in the Case Investigation Form (CIFs). Later, as the cases started rising, the student teams were assigned the task of collecting data of COVID positive patients in Delhi NCR, and filling up the CIFs for these patients. A total of 41 additional CIFs of Delhi – NCR region were successfully filled by the students over a period of about 10-12 days. During this period, they would telephonically contact the respective district’s DSO as well as the patients themselves/ their family members and collect information related to their socio-demographic information, onset of symptoms, travel history, etc. They also tried to collect as much information as possible about the close contacts of these patients. Subsequently, they also followed up with each patient on a daily basis, to get information of their disease status.
Another task assigned to the students was to contact the District Surveillance Officers (DSOs) in each district of Delhi-NCR to get information about the hotels in the area where foreigners had or were staying during the period of surveillance. The objective of this exercise was to procure information about the country from which these foreigners had arrived, how long they stayed in that hotel, where they were going next, their contact details, etc. Over the next few days, the students (each student was allotted a couple of districts) continued their follow up with the DSOs and hotels to get this information in a specified format.
Currently, all the students are working with the NCDC team from within the NCDC premises, based on the request of the NCDC team. Some students are assisting the NCDC officials in planning State-wise strategies for contact tracing and cluster containment measures. And the rest are working with different staff members of the IDSP program on data entry, sorting, and preliminary analyses.
The faculty group has been coordinating the entire activity; they are fully engaged in this work and are providing necessary support and guidance to students and helping them to sort out bottlenecks / challenges they face on a daily basis. On a daily basis, the activities carried out by the students and the status of the patients for the day are summarised and sent to NCDC.
PHFI team has also provided actionable information for identification and contact tracing of the Tablighi Jamaat network in Delhi and Mumbai.
Work with MoHFW, Government of India:
Two other faculty members are part of a team that provides need-based expert epidemiology inputs to the BCG team operating within the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI.
Publications related to COVID:
One of our faculty members has contributed to background papers on “Investment requirements for scaling up COVID 19 response”, and “National Health Systems support and Advisory Strategy” developed by PHFI. This faculty is also providing technical support to an independent initiative for development of technology platform for real time monitoring of COVID 19 cases and logistics support. (COVID19India.org).
Proposed work with ILO on multi-country study:
One of our faculty members was invited by ILO Delhi to participate in a UN led proposed multi-country study which wants to capture the impacts of COVID-19 on smallholder farmers, the elderly, informal, domestic and platform workers, migrant workers and their families (both with and left behind), social security systems, SME recovery, intra-household dynamics and other impacts on children, impact on wellbeing and capacity of public workers, access to public services during and post-epidemic, including access to sexual and reproductive health services. As of now, it is in early stages – only certain points related to survey design and points to be covered in the proposed survey have been shared with the ILO.
Committee member of National Task Force research group:
Some of our faculty members have been invited to become part of technical committees related to COVID containment and response. A senior faculty member has been roped in by the National Task Force for COVID-19 at ICMR to become a member of the Epidemiology and Surveillance research group. This group is expected to identify the research priorities related to Epidemiology and Surveillance, and quickly initiate research studies.
Creating awareness at various platforms:
One of our senior faculty members has been actively creating awareness about the need for physical activity during this period across various social media platforms. The campaign includes not only measures that can be taken to protect oneself and the family from this virus, but also steps to stay protected from the increase in non-communicable diseases, which also have a potential to rise in such circumstances. IEC messages have been prepared and shared with Government of India.