Wednesday, 22 November 2017

PMA2020: Uses innovative mobile technology to support low-cost surveys in Public Health.

Friends, I am sharing with you an interview done with Dr. Anoop Khana (Professor at IIHMR University). Prof. Anoop Khanna has a background in social work. He has presented and published several research papers. He has contributed to several operations research projects on training interventions for health functionaries, population programme management, and adolescent health. His areas of interest are population programme management, programme evaluation, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health.
He also heads the Performance Monitoring, and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) project uses innovative mobile technology to routinely gather data on family planning and water, sanitation and hygiene. Data are collected at household and facility levels via mobile phones through a network of female Resident Enumerators stationed throughout the country. Resident Enumerators (REs), transfer data from smart-phone to a central server via the mobile data network. In real-time, data are validated, aggregated and prepared into tables and graphs, making results more quickly available to stakeholders as compared to a paper-and-pencil survey. PMA2020 can be integrated into national monitoring and evaluation systems by offering a low-cost, rapid-turnaround survey platform that can be used for various other health data needs. A similar program is also being carried out in 11 different countries of Asia and Africa.

The interview is all about PMA2020.

What is the aim of the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) survey?


PMA2020 was originally designed to facilitate annual progress reporting in support of the goals and principles of Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), using an innovative data platform. PMA2020 aims to establish and support low-cost rapid turnaround surveys monitoring key health and other development indicators.


Data are collected at household and health facilities level via mobile phones through a network of female data collectors, known as Resident Enumerators (REs) throughout the country/state. REs transfer data by phone to a central server using the mobile data network. In real-time, data are validated, aggregated, and prepared into tables and graphs, making results quickly available to stakeholders. It is being implemented by local partner universities and research organizations in ten countries across Africa and Asia. Overall direction and support of PMA2020 are provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in collaboration with national partners in each project country. PMA2020 is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


In India, PMA2020 is being implemented by Indian Institute of Health Management and Research (IIHMR) University in Jaipur with the endorsement and technical support provided by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW). PMA2020/Rajasthan is collecting data in 147 sentinel sites which are called Enumeration areas. It is a sample survey which is representative of the state population in both Urban and Rural areas. PMA2020 Rajasthan is currently collecting data on family planning and WASH indicators.

How have IIHMR and John Hopkins collaborated as partners on the survey?

IIHMR has a wide and rich experience in conducting large-scale surveys which made it a suitable partner to implement PMA2020 in India/Rajasthan. IIHMR and John Hopkins also share a long and active partnership prior to implementing the PMA2020.


Post the data collection and analysis, what do the researchers plan to do?
Post data collection and analysis, researchers and program implementers are engaged in disseminating the collected data to the government, development agencies and other stakeholders. Researchers also use the data collected for publication purposes and refer this data for developing various materials to inform relevant policymakers.

What are some of the limitations of the survey method in research of this kind?
PMA2020, as for now, provides estimates at the state level for Rajasthan. It is yet to be extended to the district level. Moreover, it is mainly focused on family planning and water & sanitation components.  

What other partnerships are IIHMR and John Hopkins engaged in?
IIHMR and Johns Hopkins University have a long relationship in areas of research, training, and academics. They have jointly carried out several research projects. Currently, they are jointly offering the Master of Public Health Program at IIHMR University. Besides this, a project named “PMA Agile” is also being launched in India along with other countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and other Francophone West African countries, for monitoring of initiatives under The Challenge Initiative to improve access to FP services in urban settings.  

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

To Change Things: Be the Change

You can never change things by fighting the present reality.
To change things, build a new perspective that makes the present model obsolete. And remember “Change” is very rare. It's difficult, not easy. It will trouble you. And will bring you right down to your knees until you settle on it. Pain will become an integral part of the process and its something that nobody wants. So, how do we get rid of the pain?

By accepting the change:
Change and Growth are the two sides of the coin. See the bigger picture and tell yourself that every smallest step taken by you is the preparation of the next level, for the best to come and for life to hug you in its big arms!

Build on the change, build a new perspective, work on yourself, listen and enhance your knowledge, do not break the momentum. There are plenty of good people around to guide you, just reach out. You will be surprised how many strangers are happy to help. Of course, there are people full of negativism, but then there are the believers, the achievers, and the go-getters.
Make the best choices in choosing the right people on your path, to change. 

Don't judge anyone by his looks, clothes, watch, shoes, etc. Judge him by how much 'vibrant content'he has in his mind.
You have to change with or without resistance.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Healthcare IT: The New Booming Sector for IT Graduates

Do we have Indian IT professionals working in the Hospitals?
The answer is "No."
Conventionally Indian IT professionals have groomed their skills with, Programming (Java/C++,..), or Networking (System Networking..) or Verification and Validation (Manual or Automation, Selenium, ..) or Analytics (Big Data, ...) now Cloud Computing.
IT professionals getting trained to work in Indian Hospitals is a very new and now a booming thing, I doubt, that how many of them know about this option?
Yes, Hospitals have professionals, but not from IT, but from BSc, MSc, or another background.
Once the number of hospitals supporting interoperability (the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information) getting increased with the usage of Hospital Information Systems (like EMR, PACS), surely the hospitals would need more professionals with IT Knowledge, for instance, TCP/IP. This should be the next boom for IT Professionals with lots of jobs created in this space.
Already, few organizations like IIHMR, have started outputting these types of professionals with required Healthcare IT knowledge.

To get into  Healthcare IT Domain, start learning.
1. System Administration.
2. HL7.
3. Interface Engines (Like Mirth, Rhapsody, etc..).
4. PACS.
6. LIS (Laboratory Information System).
7. Clinical Workflow Knowledge.
8. IHE.
The list grows.
The point I want to make is, get ready with the right skills so that you stand advantage for the Indian Healthcare IT boom.
All the best!!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Mid-Career MBA Syndrome.

How much education does a man require?  Would be the most inappropriate questions of all times if ever asked. Gaining information from varied sources and adding it to your Pandora of knowledge knows no boundary, but ultimately it comes to a halt soon after the fresh graduates join the dominant race of money-making and making it all about gaining experience and their materialistic needs. With the fast-paced modernization and no room for the medieval, every person with just one single undergraduate degree tends to suffer from mid-career MBA syndrome at least once in their lifetime. No, it’s not a medical disease that you need to get diagnosed. It merely is the urge of the conscious minds of the students with prior experience in their respective fields, to stop for a moment, take a good look at what their lives have become and what they lack. These unanswered questions often lead their lives to the road not taken where monotony and a stagnant career welcomes them with open arms.

However, the alternative to this is the road that leads the fresh graduates to pursue their Masters in Business Administration after having gained some experience, to stimulate themselves with something to start afresh, in the middle of their career.

The pool of opportunities: Regardless of the fields they are in, students often wish to go for this tactic to get a job and a life worth all the efforts. It is a common activity; also a justified one. As glamorous and modern that it sounds, having an MBA opens a pool of opportunities. From an instant hike in the paycheck to gaining stimulating experience, this degree has it all.

A fresh start: The refreshing experience of going back to college and living the academic life is total bait. Who doesn’t want to take a break and live those moments once again which not only offers an environment to spread their wings of experimentation but also tags along with several advantages of its own? Leadership, improved management skills, one’s aspirations, evolving into a think tank for an out of the box approach, excellent networking is what this degree offers and this is all a creative brain feeds off for reaching out to the ladder of success and growth.

A much-needed break: Being surrounded by MBA professionals at the workplace and the materialistic and non-materialistic comparison continually hitting the subconscious mind is bound to happen once people are tired of their stagnant lives. Giving your professional life a sudden break and walking straight into the world of MBA to gain what you lack isn’t as tricky as it sounds.

How to qualify: Everything that you, as a working professional, have gained or experienced so far would be taken into high consideration. To apply for the same, all you need to do is crack a joint entrance examination including CAT, MAT, and XAT with an aggregate percentage. That will not only refresh your knowledge in various subjects like mathematics, English, and current affairs but will also open the gates leading to some of the top institutes of the nation.

The IIMs spread across the country, XLRI in Jamshedpur, ISB in Hyderabad, Loyola Institute of Business Management in Chennai, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management in Pune, IIHMR University in Jaipur, are few of the leading institutions that offer a two-year long management program regardless of the previously chosen field. A two-year program here is a must to gain more of everything; more knowledge, more opportunities, more exposure and a six-unit salary, and these are some of the institutions to provide you with the same.

 All you need is an undergraduate degree, aggregate score in the entrance examination and a strong impression to leave during the interview sessions. Talking about the how and when queries about the exams, the syllabus remains the same regardless your age and experience in the field. Verbal abilities, Qualitative and quantitative aptitude along with logical reasoning set the parameters, and that’s how the students taking the exam are judged. Making it more convenient, multiple institutions also offer full-fledged programs to prepare the students for this battlefield which they can attempt numerous times. All you need to do is keep your eyes open, fill the applications in time and take the tests which fall between December to February, every year. For standing out and making it large, a desire for mid-career MBA degree is a must. All you require here is some time off your busy schedule and dedication to making the best of it because the floor is always open.