Awarded grant for research on maternal and child undernutrition in India
With digital spaces occupying a position of vital importance in today’s times, various researchers and academicians have been working towards enhancing the scope of medical and public health initiatives on these platforms. Researchers at Parul University near Vadodara have been actively working towards enhancing the scope of medical resources found on digital systems.
Through a dedicated team of five expert researchers and academicians, the University has been awarded a grant of 53 lakhs towards a research project focusing on the use of machine learning for predictive analysis and visualization of maternal and child undernutrition in India on NFHS data through a web portal. One of the prime objectives of this project is to enhance the welfare of the child within the domain of public health.
The investigating team is composed of distinct academic resource persons from various fields, who have come together to actively contribute towards the development of this project. The expert contributors of this project include, Dr. Arvind Yadav (PhD (IIT Roorkee) – Image Processing, Parul Institute of Engineering & Technology), Kandarp Talati (MBA, MPH, Center of Research for Development, Parul University), Dr. Geetika Madan Patel (MD – Community Medicine, Medical Director, Parul University), and Rajiv Kumar Gurjwar (M.Tech – CSE, Parul Institute of Technology). Owing to their diverse knowledge backgrounds, the members of this research team took an interdisciplinary approach to share their knowledge and technical understanding.
The primary objective of this research is to design and develop an open-access web-portal, powered by advances in data analytics and machine learning, for easy-to-comprehend visualization of key indicators and determinants by the end-users. Given the constraints of India’s public health system, there are possibilities of participation from profit and nonprofit organizations.
“The update in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS – 4&5) has provided for insights into the prevailing under-nutrition indicators at district level. However, regardless of its existence, having access to NFHS dataset and gaining analytical insights, requires skilled human resources, high-power computing systems and knowledge of statistical software. Most grassroots organizations and front line health service providers lack such access, hence limiting the interventional and utility of NFHS findings”, said Dr Arvind Yadav, Principal Investigator of the project.
In addition this research goes on to propose for the development of a user-friendly online portal for data prediction and visualization of maternal and child under-nutrition and their determinants at local, state, national level. This system is strategically designed to make use of machine learning, geographical information systems and data visualization packages.
“We anticipate that such a portal can become a game changer in driving evidence-based decision making in regards to public health and also monitoring periodic trends to gain an understand on the impact of novel interventions in given district(s) or region(s), said Mr Kandarp Talati, a public health expert and Co- investigator of the project.
“This grant will help facilitate citizen participation in public health dialogues and data-driven decision making, and at Parul University our agenda is to always promote interdisciplinary research towards benefitting the society at large. In the present project, Univeraisty’s researchers are looking forward to collaborate with domain experts and local grassroots organizations to understand user perspective and tap into their expertise in designing this futurist analytical web portal, which will go a long way in ensuring the appropriate utilization of NFHS data towards improving the maternal and child health in the country”, added Dr. Geetika Madan Patel, Medical Director & Chairperson, Center of Research for Development, Parul University.