The Study, “Identifying Sources, Pathways and Risk Drivers in Ecosystems of JE in an Epidemic-Prone North Indian District” which was carried out from 2011-13 concluded with the sharing of findings at the national, district and community level. While the national and district consultations were mandatory, the community dissemination emanated more from an overall sense of responsibility that the study team felt towards the community.
Aided with the staunch support of the local NGO partner Savera and the cooperation of the village pradhans at every step of the data collection process, it was only natural to involve them in the final leg of the study. This also was a precursor to their taking up some of the findings and interpreting them in a manner most befitting to the welfare of their village. This way there was a sustainability component to the study, wherein the findings were actioned into concrete steps aimed to improve health seeking behaviours with respect to JE.
District and National Dissemination
The EcoHealth Research Core Group constituted by PHFI/RCZI as part of the Study on “Identifying Sources, Pathways and Risk Drivers in Ecosystems of JE in an Epidemic-Prone North Indian District”, presented key findings of the study on JE transmission, the leading cause of AES in India, at a district-level consultation at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh on June 27, 2014. The study established greater understanding of the animal-vector-human interactions in micro-ecosystems of JE in a high endemic district. It integrated these with social and environmental factors that influence disease transmission and was well received by district and state officials.
A similar consultation was held in New Delhi on October10, 2014 at a national stakeholders meet. The study findings along with recommendations for programme managers, policymakers and the research community were taken up for discussion. Community feedback was also shared by the research team. Of special interest to programme managers was the eco-epidemiological drivers and systemic issues related to health care delivery and access for JE prevention and control.
The Study on“Identifying Sources, Pathways and Risk Drivers in Ecosystems of JE in an Epidemic-Prone North Indian District”, had right at the onset made a commitment to the community that it would share the research findings with them and involve them as important stakeholders in the exercise. The Community Dissemination that was held on September 28, 2014 in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh proved to be highly interactive, providing greater clarity to village leaders, not just about the role they had played but making them feel like important partners, whose support was much appreciated. The discussion which included sharing of findings and recommendations, gave them a clear idea of what the study had aimed to do, what the JE scenario in the district looked like and what steps they could take to protect themselves and their pigs and other animals from transmission. As they opened up and talked, their points of view and perceptions were recorded and their feedback noted. This would guide future programming and studies.
JE outbreaks are being reported from previously unknown foci. Further, encephalitis outbreaks of other aetiologies in endemic areas have only added to their complexity. For programme managers, researchers and community health professionals, access to accurate and updated information is key to planning interventions and other relief measures.read more