The 4th Amrita International Public Health E- conference- AMRITACON 2021 was held on December 10 – 11, 2021. The theme was “Chronic Respiratory Diseases: Healthy Lung, Clean Air, Live A Good Life.” The conference was jointly organised by the Dept. Of Community Medicine and Public Health, Dept of Respiratory Medicine in collaboration with The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The UNION).
The e-conference was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetam, Dr. Venkat Rangan at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Edapally, Kochi, Kerala. The meeting was presided over by Dr. Prem Nair (Medical Director, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences). NCDC Director Dr. S. K. Singh was the Guest of Honour. The UNION Regional Director, South East Asia Dr. Kuldeep Singh Sachdeva delivered the keynote address. Dr Vishal Marwaha (Principal, Amrita School of Medicine, Kochi), Dr. K. V. Beena (Additional Medical Superintendent and HoD, Dept. of Public Health, AIMS) felicitated the function. Dr. Aswathy S. (Professor and HoD, Dept. of Community Medicine and Organizing Chairperson), spoke on the Genesis and Journey of AMRITACON. Dr Asmitha Mehta (Professor and Organizing Chairperson and HoD, Dept. of Respiratory Medicine) introduced the conference theme, ‘Chronic Respiratory Diseases: Healthy Lung, Clean Air, Live a Good Life’. Dr. Akhilesh (Prof. Dept. of Respiratory Medicine and Organizing Secretary), delivered the vote of thanks.
The scientific sessions of the two-day conference began with the talk on Lung Cancer Screening delivered by Dr. Pavithran K. (HoD, Medical Oncology, AIMS), followed by the conference workshop on Infectious Disease Modelling by Prof. Nimalan Arinaminpathy (Professor of Mathematical Epidemiology, Imperial College, London).
On day two, the Amrita oration was delivered by Prof. Guy Marks (President and Interim Director, The UNION) on the topic ‘Lung Health for All for Sustainable Development’. The session was moderated by Dr. Prem Nair (MD, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences) and Dr. Sanjay K. Rai (Professor of Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences).
There were talks covering various dimensions of Lung Health. The first session was ‘Tobacco- The Nemesis of Lung Health’ by Dr. K. R. Thankappan (Director, Central University). The session was moderated by Dr. Indu P. S. ( Professor and HOD, Department of Community Medicine, GMC, Quilon).
The disease burden of Chronic Respiratory Disease in LMICs was dealt by Dr. Sanjeev Nair (Professor, Pulmonary Medicine, GMC, Thrissur). The session was chaired by Dr. K. Vijayakumar (Former Professor and HOD, Community Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences).
Optimizing care in Chronic Respiratory disease was presented by Dr. Sundeep Salvi (PURE Foundation). The chair for the session was Dr. Suma Nair (Professor and HOD, Community Medicine, KMC, Manipal).
The session on Airborne infection control in health care facilities was delivered by Dr. Malik Parmar (National Professional Officer- Drug Resistant and Latent TB, WHO country Office, New Delhi). The session was chaired by Dr. Binu Areekal (Professor, Community Medicine, GMC, Thrissur).
The topic of current times, COVID 19 and Lung health was presented by Dr. (Col) Vikas Marwah (Professor and HoD, Pulmonary Medicine, AFMC, Pune). Dr. Anish T. S. was the session chair.
The section on air pollution had a varied array of topics which aroused great interest among the attendees. The sessions were moderated by Dr. Biju Soman, (Professor, AMCHSS) and Dr. Manu S., (Consultant, STDC). Changing Paradigms in Air pollution Monitoring was dealt by Dr. H. D. Varalaxmi (Regional Director, CPCB).
Air Pollution and Health- Bridging the Gaps for Better Health – Dr. Ravindra Khaiwal (Prof. Environmental Health, PGIMER) outlined the various health effects caused by air pollution. Air Pollution and Health Effects during Life course- Dr. Ebba Malmqvist (Associate Professor, University of Lund, Sweden) highlighted the lifetime effects of air pollution.
The conference section on innovation and advances had 3 major topics: Lung transplantation – Dr. Arun Nair (Freeman Hospital, UK), Biologicals in asthma – Dr. Deepak Talwar (Consultant, Metro Hospitals, Delhi) and Pulmonary rehabilitation – Dr. Prahlad Prabhu Desai (Consultant, Lilavati Hospitals, Mumbai). The session chairs were Dr. Asmita Mehta (Professor and HOD, Respiratory Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences) and Dr. Anita Thilakan (Professor, Pulmonary Medicine, GMC, Kalamassery).
The final session of the day was a panel discussion on Lung health for everyone in India. The participants were Padmashri Dr. Digambar Behera (Former NTF Chairman, NTEP), Dr. Kuldeep Singh Sachdeva (the UNION Regional Director, South East Asia) and Dr. Rajan N Khobragade, IAS (Principal Secretary, MoHFW). The panel unanimously put forth the need for a national-level programme targeting lung health in India.
The Guest of Honour for the valedictory function was Mr. T. J. Vinod (MLA of Kerala State Assembly). Dr. Prem Nair (MD, AIMS) offered the introductory remarks. Dr. Vishal Marwaha (Principal, Amrita School of Medicine, Kochi), Dr. Rakesh S. (Vice Principal, Amrita School of Dentistry) and Dr. Sabitha M. (Principal, Amrita School of Pharmacy) felicitated the function. Dr. Teena Mary Joy (Associate Professor, Community Medicine and Organising Secretary), presented the report of the conference. The souvenir of the conference was released by the Guest of Honour. Dr. Shajahan T. S. (President APCCM) and Dr. Sairu Philp (President, IAPSM, Kerala chapter) felicitated the function. The award winners of the best paper and poster categories were announced by Dr. Sreelakshmi Mohandas K. (Assistant Professor, Community Medicine and Scientific Committee, Convenor). Dr. Paul T. Francis (Additional Professor, Community Medicine and Scientific Committee, Convenor) proposed the Vote of Thanks.
The conference was attended by 435 delegates from 83 different medical colleges in India and abroad. We received a total of 196 abstracts which were scrutinised by the scientific committee and categorised into the award, oral and poster presentations. There were 5 presentations in the faculty award category, 4 in the student award category, 110 oral presentations and 77 posters. All the presentations were conducted simultaneously in 22 Zoom break-out rooms. Each session was judged by 3 session chairs each.
The Indian Journal of Public Health will publish a special supplementary issue as part of AMRITACON 2021. It is a peer-reviewed, international journal which is SCOPUS and PUBMED indexed.
The two-day Amrita international public health conference was well received and appreciated.