Health Research Conclave (IISF-2020) bridged the gap between Science & Society

New Delhi: Indian Council of Medical Research [ICMR], successfully organized Health Research Conclave 2020 on 23rd-24th December 2020 under the ambit of India International Science Festival (IISF-2020). The aim of conclave was to provide a platform for interaction between the policy makers, students, early researchers and the eminent experts in the field of medical research. Health Research Conclave-2020 was inaugurated virtually by Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare gave valedictory address and concluded the conclave.

The theme of this year’s Health Research Conclave (HRC) was “Health Research for a Happy, Healthy and Self reliant India”. During two day conclave experts discussed and gave their insights on topics like emerging & re emerging infections, Atmanirbhar Bharat- race for COVID-19 vaccine, holistic health, healthy India-fit India, universal health coverage & the eliminable diseases. The concept of Atmanirbhar Bharat, inclusion of new age technologies like AI and machine learning was emphasized in each of these areas.

Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey said, “Health research’s role has gained prominence in confronting the health challenges that the country is currently facing and will provide an effective way to encounter future challenges. I congratulate ICMR in successfully conducting health research conclave 2020, wherein young scientists and students gained insights from health research experts.” He suggested that there is a need to create awareness among the masses of the importance of science and during pandemic ICMR has become a household name because of its extraordinary efforts.

Dr. Samiran Panda, Head, ECD, ICMR and Director, NARI, Pune in his inaugural address emphasized that Health is not limited to medical research and well being. There is a need to acknowledge the broader and holistic issue of health. He added that, “The practice of science does not require panicking but thinking through and finding a solution. Vaccine development in India is happening without any external support, which is remarkable.”

Dr. V. K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog provided his views on integrative health systems. He emphasized to create an atmosphere where there is a joint effort to provide holistic health in our country on a true scale. He added that useful interventions and approaches emanating from traditional systems of medicine open up the possibility to work together.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO gave an invigorating talk on global strategy to end tuberculosis by 2025. She added that TB incidence rate is falling, but not fast enough to reach the 2020 milestone of a 20% reduction between 2015-2020. She mentioned that our Prime Minister has made a call to make India TB free by 2025 ahead of the global target of 2030 and work needs to be accelerated in order to achieve that.

Under the panel discussion on Healthy India-Fit India the celebrity Chef Shri Sanjeev Kapoor highlighted the importance of local, fresh and seasonal food while Madan Lal the former Cricketer emphasized the need for physical fitness and added this is a mind game and one needs to make it a habit to remain physically fit.

There was also a panel discussion on Race for Covid-19 under Atmanirbhar Bharat, where panelists like Dr Gagandeep Kang, Dr Priya Abraham, Dr Sanjay Rai and Dr Sanjay Mehendale discussed on various issues of vaccine development and praised India’s efforts in developing the indigenous vaccine for COVID-19.

Ph.D. Students, Post-Doctoral Researchers, and early career researchers’ enthusiastically participated in various programs organised during health research conclave 2020.

Two day conclave was coordinated by Dr Rajni Kant. He highlighted the success stories in the areas of health including ICMR efforts.