The Indian Head Injury Foundation received the 2017 BMJ (British Medical Journal) South Asia award in the “Best initiative of the year” in the non-communicable disease category. Our team, over the last 2 years, initiated the "Children's Ride to safety programme." This involved workshops on road safety for children and parents in 55 Delhi Government Schools involving 20,000 children and distributing 12.000 helmets, free of cost. As there are no ISI children’s helmet available in the market, we had to have them manufactured specifically for this purpose.
This is just the start of a national “Children's Right to Safety” campaign involving wearing helmets on 2 wheelers and seat belt in cars and school buses. (More than 16,000 children die every year on Indian roads, most of them are pillion riders without helmets.)
This is the fourth year of the award. Dr Arun Prasad and I, won it in the first year (2014) in the “Surgical team of the year” category for having performed Asia’s first Robotic Spine surgery at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. In 2015 I was a finalist for our work involving training policemen as first responders.
There were 2000 nominations, which after two rounds of screening, came down to 30 finalists making a jury presentation. The quality of presentations this year were of a very high standard. The notable ones were:
1.Dr Ritesh Agarwal, from Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital, Delhi, India co-winner of the category Infectious Disease Initiative of the Year for the project “Chasing Zero VAP – An Initiative to prevent ventilator associated pneumonia in the intensive care unit”.
Ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) and hospital acquired infections prolong patients stay in ICU, leads to longer antibiotic course, increases morbidity and mortality. This initiative to reduce VAP is a step in the right direction towards zero VAP.
2. Dr Aarti Avinash Kinikar, from B.J Government Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital, Pune, India for the category Maternal & Child Health Team of the Year for the project “Human Milk Banking -A sustainable means to reduce neonatal mortality in developing countries”.
India has one of the highest infant mortality rate in the world. Malnutrition is one of the major contributors. This attempt of collecting and distributing, to vulnerable children, human banked milk is commendable.
3. Dr. Kamrun Nahar Koly, from International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh for the category Mental Health Team of the Year for the project Promoting Mental Health Care of the “Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” in Bangladesh.
Autistic children require a lot of maternal care and time, often leading to depression and other stress disorders in mothers of these children. This group identifies the vulnerable mothers and attempt to improve their mental health.
4. Ms.Swati Mahendru from Manipal University, Manipal, India for the category Post Graduate Thesis of the Year, winner of the category “Development and Validation of multidimensional pictorial questionnaire for adult hearing impaired individuals”
Hearing impairment, particularly if unilateral, can often be missed till a very late stage and even when picked they may not have access to an audiologist. Through a simple pictorial questionnaire this group have developed a method of detecting hearing impairment.
5. Dr. Lobsang Tsetim, co-winner of the category Surgical Team of the Year from Ramakrishna Mission Hospital, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India for the project “Outreach surgical eye camps” in the hilly state of Arunachal Pradesh.
This group projected their eye camps in remote inaccessible areas helping restore vision to thousands who were otherwise severely visually impaired.
6. Dr. Faisal Saud Dar, co-winner of the category Surgical Team of the Year from Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad, Pakistan for the project “Living Donor Liver Transplantation” in Pakistan
Starting a Liver transplant programme is a daunting task. That it was started in Pakistan is commendable given all odds.
It was an honor to be part of this group of finalists and amazed at the diversity of the presentations. BMJ have to be congratulated for initiating this prestigious award in South Asia and in the words of Dr Fiona Godlee “the standard of presentations this year was of a very high standard”. It was also a good networking opportunity. I am as a result, in talks with some of the other participants to work on some of the Indian Head Injury Foundation projects.