BFI discusses disease tracking for enhanced public health resilience

More than 12 medical institutions, including AIIMS and PGI Chandigarh from across the country, participated in the conference and shared their views

The Blockchain For Impact (BFI), a philanthropic organisation working towards building resilience in public healthcare systems, successfully concluded a conference under their BFI Biome Virtual Network Program, that aimed to raise awareness about the deployment of innovation and technology at the forefront of disease tracking. Representatives from 12+ medical institutions, including the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) from across the country, participated with enthusiasm.

BFI also announced a donation of $250,000 USD, pledging $50,000 each to any 5 participating institutions, to empower them to accelerate their advancements in innovative disease tracking initiatives. Through this grant, BFI aims to accelerate its mission of laying a firm footing to bridge the gaps in India’s health divide.

BFI-Biome is a philanthropic initiative by BFI founder Sandeep Nailwal, and is designed to be a platform that brings together leading researchers, technologists, and innovators to address pressing healthcare challenges and accelerate the development of transformative solutions. By partnering with top medical research institutes, BFI aims to fund initiatives that have the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery in India.

Speaking about BFI’s vision Dr Gaurav Singh, CEO, Blockchain For Impact, elaborated, “We have been working tirelessly towards helping communities build a strong and resilient health care infrastructure. And the enthusiastic response that we got from this event has been encouraging! We are confident that this collaborative effort will further foster innovation, drive positive change, and create a lasting impact on communities, aligning with our broader mission. I would like to thank the event organisers, AIIMS Bhatinda and Precision Health platform, for such a well-planned and well executed event that hosted some of the leading stakeholders in the Indian healthcare sector. We look forward to this collaboration and for many more insightful conferences with leaders and decision makers”

During the conference, participants discussed the potential of waste water surveillance and how scientists analysing wastewater can not only identify pathogens, but also uncover the presence of harmful chemicals or metals. This crucial information allows for swift action to trace the source of these threats, mitigate potential public health catastrophes, and inform policymakers and researchers in improving infrastructure and addressing broader local challenges.

Dr Suman Singh, Director of Health and Family Welfare, Chandigarh, graced the event and highlighted the significance of leveraging such initiatives for public welfare. She emphasised, “The sooner we have insight into emerging threats, be it through air, water, or plastic pollution, the faster we can respond effectively. Small steps taken collectively can make a significant impact. We may live individually, but nothing is impossible when we work together. Sharing knowledge about diseases can be a life-saving game changer.”

Further, by analysing wastewater for traces of pathogens, scientists can gain valuable insights into community health, enabling proactive measures to safeguard public health. Just how a weather forecast can help predict and prepare for floods or storms or drought, surveillance can detect beyond disease outbreaks, as a powerful early warning system for various public health threats. It prioritises cost-effectiveness, ensuring long-term sustainability and maximising impact with less resources.

Dr Rakesh Kakkar, Professor and Head of the Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS Bhatinda, urged action on disease tracking projects post-conference. “Implementing wastewater-based surveillance is crucial for public health. As a team it is our responsibility to initiate these projects, allocating resources efficiently. By doing so, we can safeguard communities, fulfil our duty, and address public health challenges effectively” he said.

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