Finding new ways of fostering public health in times of pandemic


In the last two years, humanity has realised that it is not the survival of the fittest anymore; the ongoing pandemic has made no distinction between the fit and the unfit when it comes to claiming lives. Today, it is the survival of the concerned. Concern about one’s health is linked to several aspects like environment, science, culture and all that the universe offers us in the form of life.

With an escalated concern towards every aspect of life, the two-day 16th International Symposium on Metal Ions in Biology and Medicine with special emphasis on sharing best practices around the Covid pandemic was held in Mumbai recently.

Hosted by Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai and supported by Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Jamia Millia Islamia (Central University), National Center for Science Communicators, Indian Academy of Oral Medicine & Radiology and Society for Radiation Research & Communication, the Symposium saw an exchange of ideas among the learned minds from different parts of the world.

“It can be a good mix of culture and science, wherein the delegates can find a new way in which science can be correlated with culture. Indian culture and rituals are full of science, such as yoga and meditation which are very important for the human being for overall development and health,” said Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, in his virtual opening address at the Symposium.

At the onset, the session by Dr A.P. Jayaraman, Chairman, National Centre for Science Communicators, stressed the need to divulge accurate information to the public thereby helping them deal with any eventuality accurately and efficiently.

“We are a community of communicators and our ultimate objective is to create scientifically literate citizens. We also look at the research culture and also perform the role of being the distributors of knowledge,” said Dr Jayaraman. “During the ongoing pandemic, science has been a suspect; there is mistrust in science, that is because we did not carry out responsible and responsive reporting,” he opined.

He further stated that, as recent as the emergence of Omicron, the science fraternity has not spoken in one voice. “We are driven by the force of publish or perish. Hence, we must communicate responsively and responsibly,” Dr Jayaraman shared.

Prof (Dr) Paul B. Tchounwou, Associate Dean, College Of Science, Engineering & Technology, Jackson, Mississippi, USA spoke on behalf of the international scientific committee.

Vice-Chancellor Maharashtra University of Health Sciences Lt Gen (Dr) Madhuri Kanitkar, AVSM VSM (Retd), as the Chief Guest for the Symposium, emphasised the need for an integrated approach to medicine with allied health sciences.

“It is an undisputed truth that human health is deeply linked to the surrounding environment and hence it is important for fruitful collaboration among all the stakeholders to evolve multi-disciplinary approaches to benefit humanity,” opined Dr Sunale Khanna (Symposium Chair), Associate Professor, Nair Hospital Dental College, vice president Indian Academy of Oral Medicine & Radiology.

Highlighting the thought behind the Symposium, Dr Khanna stated that the main aim is to create awareness about the ill effects of environmental degradation and the fact that climate change is a public health crisis through such gatherings. “We need to take forward these issues and work to guide young researchers. Setting up multidisciplinary research units to identify new ailments and formulate new treatment protocols is the need of the hour,” Dr Khanna added.

The concluding day of the Symposium commenced with an interactive e-Poster session. Papers and posters focused on various topics such Covid-19 and its effects on public health, metal base nanotechnology, health risk assessment, oral and maxillofacial imaging with a special focus on potential malignant oral diseases and oral cancer were presented by the participants.

Subhabrata Chaudhuri, Director, Nehru Science Centre, welcomed the delegates as Prof Najma, Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Central University, New Delhi highlighted the relevance of science in society, especially during a pandemic.

Published on: Thursday, December 02, 2021, 07:41 AM IST



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