Ashoka Center for Health Analytics, Research & Trends (CHART)
In recent decades, India has achieved significant advances in research and the provision of healthcare and other public health services. However, despite the growing forays into medical research, overall Universal Health Coverage (UHC) remains poor due to prevailing gaps in information, data access and its analyses. Added to this, is our poor understanding of healthcare challenges across the board, from micro-to macrolevels, taking into consideration multiple variables. This is one of the major reasons for our inability to frame targeted healthcare policies focused on UHC. The absence of data or its access at granular levels poses challenges to policymakers while making informed decisions on public health and healthcare.
To address above-mentioned problems there is a need to develop our capacity to collect, collate, curate, and analyze health data and develop India-specific metrics and visualization tools that would enable policymakers to identify appropriate strategies and schemes. As a first step, we need to understand the gaps in our processes of collecting health data, how to collate disaggregated data, research on metrics and visualization tools and more importantly enhance pool of young scientists and data experts for the public health sector.
Ashoka University, the leading liberal arts higher education institution in India, has significant potential in taking up research and training (i) on collecting, collating, and analyzing health data, (ii) in integrating scientific and socio-economic factors related to public health and (iii) in framing evidence-based policies on public health and economics. In this context, there is a need to set up a platform to collaborate with national and international organizations and experts to (i) conduct advanced research on health data, (ii) organize courses and training workshops for capacity building, and (iii) advise on healthcare-related policy decisions and in objectively evaluating the outcomes of various schemes. While we would focus on India, our work would be valuable across South-East Asia. The work will be governed by the principles of scientific excellence, policy relevance, partnerships and collaboration, and free exchange of knowledge.
- With the help of pilot-scale case studies, develop workflow for research on public health in India (from collecting data to developing metrics to visualizing the trends to assessing the outcomes of public policy interventions to improve health parameters).
- Develop a strong national and international network of researchers, emergent leaders, academicians, practitioners, across interdisciplinary fields and specializing in the domain of health-related areas.
- Provide a conduit for widely disseminating research findings and data through open-access portal, reports, peer-reviewed papers, visualization tools, and other channels.
- Become a hub for providing training and capacity building for health data research, analytics, and forecasting.
- Bridge the gap between academic research, policymakers, and industry.
- A non-exclusive list of research questions that we would address on priority would include,
- What are the major problems, issues and concerns while using data for framing public health policies in India?
- How to improve the quality and coverage of health data at the ground level?
- How to collate and curate disaggregated/noisy data and derive useful information on the status of public health in India?
- What are the right metrics for framing public health policies in India?
- How to assess the outcomes of various strategies and schemes to improve public health parameters in India and identify reasons for failure and/or ways to improve the outcomes?
- How to improve awareness among people, rural/district-level administrators and policymakers on public health issues in India and importance of various non-pharmaceutical interventions?