Programs By SCTIMST For Empowering the Scheduled Tribe (ST) Communities

Addendum
Application Forms

A. Training Programs for Students

With the financial support from the Dept. of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) is offering following training programs with scholarship for the students belonging to scheduled tribes.

Program A1: DST-SCTIMST Summer Scholarships for +2/UG/PG Students


The objective of this scholarship is to expose new developments in Science and Technology in the area of Biomedical Research to ST students. In this program students will get opportunity to interact with scientists/engineers/clinicians of the institute, attend the theory classes offered by them, visit R&D labs/clinics of SCTIMST and to do short projects in biomedical/clinical research. Interested candidates should apply for the scholarship in the prescribed format along with original certificate from the Principal/Head of the institution to which he/she belongs. On completion of the training, the selected candidates will be awarded with DST-SCTIMST summer scholarship and a certificate. Scholarships and certificates will be awarded only on successful completion of the term of training with at least 80% attendance.

Students can apply in any one of the following categories.

Category A1.1: Students of higher secondary, intermediate or 10+2 levels (CBSE, ICSE or State boards)
Duration : 4 weeks
Available seats : 10 numbers
Scholarship : Rs. 8,000 (consolidated)

Category A1.2: Students of 2nd / 3rd Year BSc (Chemistry/Physics/Biology/Life sciences) or 2nd / 3rd / 4th year BTech/BE or equivalent or those who have completed the above courses
Duration : 1 month - 2 months
Available seats : 5 numbers
Scholarship : Rs. 10,000 per month

Category A1.3: 1st / 2nd year of MSc/MTech or equivalent
Duration : 1 month - 2 months
Available seats : 5 numbers
Scholarship : Rs. 15,000 per month

Program A2: DST-SCTIMST Innovative Research Award


In this scheme, eligible candidates belonging to ST category receive a grant to pursue their research career in the areas related to Medical Science specialties (Neurology/ Cardiology/ Radiology) or Medical Device Technology development.

Applicable subject areas:
Chemical sciences, Physical sciences, Biological sciences, Medical Sciences, Health Sciences and Engineering sciences

Eligibility:
1) The fellowship is open for active researchers working in the area of biomedical research.
2) The applicant should have a PhD in Science/Engineering/Technology or MD in Medical specialties (Neurology/Cardiology/Radiology).
3) The applicant should have a proven track-record in research evident from publications.

Duration:
The fellowship will be offered initially for a period of 3 years. This can be extended up to 5 years based on the satisfactory performance of the candidate.

Age limit:
35 years

Nature of support:
A monthly fellowship of Rs. 80,000 will be provided. In addition the fellow can avail a research grant of 10 lakhs per annum for manpower, contingencies, travel, and consumables. An equipment grant of up to Rs. 1 crore can be availed by the fellow. However, the equipment shall remain as the property of the institute and shall be accessible to other researchers.

Application and Selection:
Interested candidates may apply with their biodata and a research proposal relevant to the mandate of the institute. Applications will be scrutinized by an expert committee. Based on the recommendations of the committee applicants will be called for personal interview. Selection will be based on the merit of the research proposal and performance of the candidate in the personal interview.

General conditions applicable for Programs A1 and A2:
  • Candidate must apply in the prescribed format with proof of caste/community certificate issued by govt. depts.
  • Applicants must have scored a minimum of 50% marks or equivalent grades in the qualifying examinations.
  • The applicants/selected candidates will not have any claim on the permanent positions advertised in the future.
  • Selection for program A1 will be as per Institute norms.

Program A3: Workshop on "An Insight into Analytical instruments for Research"


This is a two days' workshop conducted at Biomedical Technology Wing. Depending upon the availability of funds, this workshop will be conducted up to 4 times a year, usually in January, April, July and October. Candidates having backgrounds in Science/Medical/Paramedical/ Other related subjects will be accommodated for this workshop. Suitable for candidates having undergraduate/post graduate degrees in science/engineering disciplines, students doing PhD, teaching/research faculty.

Program A4: SCTIMST Institute Fellowships for doing PhD

In this scheme, students selected though a national level written test and interview conducted by SCTIMST will be eligible to receive fellowship to pursue their PhD program at SCTIMST.

Fellowship amount: equivalent to DST rate for PhD scholars.
Eligibility: As mentioned in the SCTIMST prospectus.


For more details contact

Registrar, SCTIMST, Trivandrum
Phone: +91-471-2524269/649/289
Email: reg@sctimst.ac.in


Address for sending the Application

The Registrar, Division of Academic Affairs,
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology
Medical College Campus,
Thiruvananthapuram,
Kerala – 695 011

B. Community Based Programs For The Empowerment And Welfare Of Tribals

Program B1: Promoting engagement of scheduled tribes in health centreupgradation in tribal areas


Health care needs of ST population form a classical "triple burden" - severe malnutrition; communicable diseases like tuberculosis; and non-communicable diseases. The situation is complicated by increased levels of physical and mental disability, addictions and trauma (animal/ snake bites). A recent report of the expert committee on tribal health of the government of India (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare & Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India, 2018) has stressed on empowerment and active participation of ST people while focusing on comprehensive primary health care.
Nationally, the country is moving towards revamping Primary Health Centres (PHC) as Health and Wellness Centres. Kerala has already embarked on PHC up-gradation to "Family Health Centres" for provisioning of Comprehensive Primary Health Care. Context specific health packages envisaged at individual, family, ward and panchayath levels. Tribal health being a particularly complex issue with its unique challenges, this project aims to bring together experts and experienced persons working with health of ST population in Kerala to engage better with ST populations. Good practices identified during the ongoingupgradation processes can be used to inform PHC upgradation slated to happen in the future.

Objectives:

  • To train members from ST community to foster engagement of ST in functioning of Family Health Centres in Kerala.
  • To document good practices of quality improvement and service delivery for ST population in FHCs catering to ST population.


Activities:
Existing supportive manpower (Tribal ASHA workers, tribal anganwadi teachers, tribal promoters, literate persons from ST hamlets) will be trained to help with addressing health care needs of ST.
Health institutions with good practices will be identified and the processes documented for helping other health institutions emulate these good practices.

Principal Investigator (PI) of the project: Dr. Ravi Prasad Varma P., Associate Professor, Achutha Menon Centre of Health Sciences Studies (AMCHSS), SCTIMST, Trivandrum.

Program B2: Mobile Telemedicine Project in Wayanad


Wayanad district has the maximum number of Tribal people, who are one among the most disadvantaged groups in Kerala. One major bottleneck for health care for them is the non-availability of specialists in the public health centres that they approach. Cultural factors and poor road connectivity defer them from going to the specialist clinics even if referred by their treating physician in the peripheral centres. The concept of Telemedicine is to bridge such equity gaps, and it has the potential to cater to the needs of most of these referred patients, but unfortunately, most of the 640 Telemedicine units in India are highly underutilised. This project tries to harness an existing sophisticated technology (Telemedicine) to improve access to secondary healthcare services in remote areas (a pressing public health need) through innovative approaches. The AchuthaMenon Centre for Health Science Studies has initiated this project to provide specialist services in Wayanad, and this approach is based on the established theory of Social Shaping of Technology (SST) concepts. This project would be a significant step towards popularising Telemedicine in India and using it as an inclusive tool to extend the reach of secondary health care to the neediest people in the country.

PI of the project  :  Dr.Biju Soman, Professor, AMCHSS

Co-PI  :  Er. Sajithlal M.K., Engineer E, BMT Wing

Program B3: Triaging high-risk HPV-positive women for cervical cancer screening in tribal populations


Persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are causally linked to cervical cancer and can form good surrogate marker for identifying the population at risk of developing cervical cancer. Hence, detection of persistent HPV infection is introduced as a screening tool for cervical cancers. Primary HPV testing is easily implementable at large scale (eventually) in low resource settings. The present study proposes to initiate cervical cancer screening programme in tribal populations of Kerala using primary HPV detection and cytological investigations to triage detection of cervical precancerous/cancerous lesions. This proposal supports the Govt. of India policy, which seeks to screen women between the ages of 30 and 60 years for common non-communicable diseases including the cancers of cervix in tribal population.

Major objectives of the project:

  • To perform cervical cancer screening using primary HPV testing.
  • To triage HR-HPV positive women for cytological examination, colposcopy and VIA examination.
  • Facilitate treatment for cervical pre-cancer/cancer patients detected during screening at tertiary cancer centres.
  • Create awareness about cervical cancer and HPV infection through educational material.

Other/minor objective:

To screen the tribal women for breast cancer using clinical breast examination.

Expected outcome:

Through this study we aim to assess the feasibility of launching a cervical cancer screening programme (using conventional and new age methods) in tribal population. This study would help us in identifying cervical pre-cancers/cancers in tribal women which will be treated at a tertiary cancer centre.

Project duration  :   Four Years

PI of the project  :  Dr.SrikantAmbatipudi, Assistant Professor, AMCHSS

Co-Investigators:

  • Dr.Biju Soman, Professor, AMCHSS
  • Dr.Rakhal Gaitonde, Professor, AMCHSS
  • Dr.Srinivasan Kannan, Professor, AMCHSS
  • Dr. Mala Ramanathan, Professor, AMCHSS
  • Dr.Jissa V.T., Scientist C, AMCHSS

Program B4: Understanding disease clustering (multi-morbidity) in the tribal population of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


There is a strong concordance of chronic conditions within co-residing adults across diverse settings in India. Understanding of disease co-occurrence, complex interactions of different conditions and the underlying pathways throughout the life course is urgently needed to develop efficient strategies for multimorbidity prevention, early diagnosis, and to design and deliver better interventions for patients.

Objectives of the project:

Toidentify or explore common disease clusters (at the individual, household and community level), their distributions in tribal population, and multimorbidity trajectories across different age groups.

Methods:

A cross-sectional community based study will be carried out in a representative sample of 2400 tribal adults (800-1000 families) over 30 years of age in four predominantly tribal districts (districts with maximum number of tribal population) of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The ultimate aim is to convert this into a cohort and follow them up for a long duration of time to understand the trajectories across different age groups.

Measurements:

Socio-demographic characteristics, educational level, health literacy, and general health status will be assessed. Appropriate tools will be used to study psychosis, depression and anxiety disorders. Height, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure will be measured. Serum creatinine, sodium, potassium, fasting blood glucose and lipid profile will be assessed. Lung function will be assessed by studying the forced expiratory volume. Other study variables include hand-grip strength, prevailing symptoms of potential chronic diseases, health care utilisation, access to health care and quality of life.

Duration of the project  :   Two years

Data analyses:

The relative odds of having any chronic condition for individuals living with a household member with any chronic condition relative to individuals who were not living with a household member with a chronic condition (i.e., the odds ratio of any chronic condition associated with living with someone who has any chronic condition) will be estimated. Both chronic condition concordance; e.g., the odds ratio of diabetes that is associated with living with someone who has diabetes) and chronic condition correspondence; e.g., the odds ratio of diabetes that is associated with living with someone who has a common mental disorder will be studied.

Expected outcome:

Tackling multiple morbidities provides a greater understanding of the underlying biology. The project will help to map clusters of conditions and explore sequential and spatial relationships in order to identify key targets for interventions.

PI of the project  :   Dr.Jeemon Panniyammakal, Assistant Professor, AMCHSS

Co-Investigators:

  • Dr.Jissa V.T., Scientist C, AMCHSS
  • Dr.Srinivas G., Scientist F, Biochemistry
Program B5:Implementing participatory learning action cycles to improve health outcomes among tribal communities in Kerala


The implementation of participatory learning and action (PLA) cycles to involve the community in participatory problem solving has emerged as evidence based intervention to reduce inequity in health outcomes among marginalized communities.

Major objectives of the project

  • To develop the capacity for implementing PLA programs among Tribal communities in Kerala.
  • To implement a pilot program to demonstrate the effectiveness of PLA cycles in the improvement of health outcomes among Tribal communities all over Kerala.
  • To initiate a PLA cycle among selected tribal communities to enhance community level problem solving focusing on particular services, at scale.

Minor objectives:

  • To map the various approaches and interventions used to enhance the effectiveness of health interventions among tribal / indigenous populations.
  • To do an analysis of policies related to Tribal Health in India and the State of Kerala to understand the perspective and paradigm being used to improve the health of Tribal communities.
  • To document multiple case studies of selected health services to understand the various dimensions that facilitate or obstruct access to services as well as achievement of welfare / benefit from these services.

METHODOLOGY

Preparatory phase:

  • Discussion with the Department of Health and Family Welfare and Tribal Welfare Department – Government of Kerala – to finalize the proposal.
  • Study of innovations to improve access and effectiveness of health care interventions among marginalized communities.
  • Study of specific mechanisms of marginalization among tribal communities in Kerala.

Implementation phase:

  • PLA cycles will be implemented on a pilot basis in 20 wards across 4 districts of Kerala where there are significant tribal populations. This will be done in close collaboration with the health department and Tribal department, in order to ultimately hand over the process to them.
  • The PLA cycles consist of facilitated – problem identification and prioritization; planning strategies; implementing them; assessing the outcomes. All done as a collective.
  • The exact problem to be tackled will be discussed with departments and community.

Project duration  :   Three years.

PI of the project  :  Dr.Rakhal Gaitonde, Professor, AMCHSS

Collaborator  :   Dr. Mala Ramanathan, Professor, AMCHSS

Program B6: An intervention for improving the health status of children from tribal communities attending schools in Kerala


Children from tribal communities in Kerala continue to be affected by multiple disadvantages: social, economic, cultural, geographical etc. & lag behind in education as well as health. School dropout rates among tribal children continue to be higher than the general population in the state. High rates of malnutrition, linguistic divide, low self-esteem, socio-cultural maladjustment, learning and cognitive issues and wide spread poverty are some of the issues that are responsible for the disparity; but have not been documented in detail.

Objectives of the project:

  • To assess the physical, psychological and cognitive wellbeing and their determinants among tribal school children in Kerala.
  • To develop an appropriate intervention package to improve their overall health status and well-being.

Intended activities:

  • To assess the physical & nutritional status, psychological and cognitive and academic wellbeing among children from tribal communities attending schools.
  • Suitable intervention package and health promotion materials to be developed with the help of expert groups, aiming at improved nutrition, psychological and cognitive improvement and overall well-being.The assessment and intervention is planned to be conducted in the special schools for children from remote tribal communities. The mandate of such schools is to improve the enrolment of tribal children, reduce dropout rates among them and facilitatebetter educationand job opportunities. Currently there are over 6000 children attending such schools in Kerala.

Project duration  :   Three years

PI of the project  :  Dr.Manju R. Nair, Scientist C, AMCHSS, SCTIMST

Mentors :

  • Dr.Sankara Sarma, Professor, AMCHSS
  • Dr. V. Raman Kutty, Emeritus Professor, AMCHSS

Program B7: Documenting cause of death among tribal population through automated verbal autopsy using Information and communication technology(ICT)


The tribal populations in Kerala show relatively low health and development indicators in comparison to the general population. The reasons for the poorer indicators of morbidity and mortality among them are included poverty, social discrimination, geographical isolation and other cultural and infrastructural barriers that restrict their access to information and health care services. Kerala has higher rates of birth (almost 100%) and death registrations (80%). Undertaking a detailed verbal autopsy of deaths among tribal populations would provide us with valuable information on the prevailing diseases and their trends.

Objectives of the project

The project aims to list out the causes of all deaths (through verbal autopsy method) that occur in the tribal population and compare it with the cause of death profile of the general population in Kerala. The specific objectives are: 1) To generate data on causes of death among remotely located tribal populations through an automated verbal autopsy by health workers (non-medical); 2) To understand the social, infrastructural, health system related and cultural factors underlying avoidable deaths among the tribal population.

Methods:

The study will be conducted in the Pulpally health block in Wayanad district and Athiyannur Block in Thiruvananthapuram district. The pulpalliblock has a population of 1.9 lakhs, with approximately 43000 tribal people. We expect around 350 deaths among the tribal people and around 900 deaths among the non-tribal in a year. Athiyannoor is the field practice area of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute with a population of 1.35 lakhs, generally non-tribal population, but have a scheduled caste population of around 20,000. We expect around 600 deaths per year from this area. The three phases of the proposed research are : 1) Building a community-driven death reporting system; 2) Verbal Autopsy of all deaths in the area using SmartVA tool, the computer tablet based verbal autopsy tool 3) Analysing the Cause of Death using the Tariff 2 method. We shall use one of the latest technologies to undertake verbal autopsies in a cost-effective and timely way, with the support of the community. Data would be collected in a database created in-house in KoboToolBox or ODK briefcase application and stored in the server of SCTIMST.

Expected outcomes:

Provide an understanding of the prevailing causes of deaths among the tribal population, determinants of avoidable deaths among them and help the policymakers in priority setting in tribal health. If the tool is found to be successful, it can be easily integrated with the routine health surveillance by the field health workers through the eHealth program.

Project duration  :   Three years

PI of the project  :  Dr.Jissa V.T., Scientist C, AMCHSS

Principal Co-Investigator  :   Dr.Biju Soman, Professor, AMCHSS

Co-Investigators :

  • Dr.Manju R Nair, Scientist C, AMCHSS
  • Dr.Srinivasan K, Professor, AMCHSS
  • Er. Sajithlal M.K., Engineer E, BMT wing



C. Other Proposed Activities for Students (Awaiting Approval)


Scheme C1: SCTIMST Institute scholarships for PG Diploma/Diploma/MPH/MPhil


These scholarships are applicable for ST students doing PG Diploma/Diploma, MPH, MPhil courses of the institute. These scholarships are extended to cover fees, stipend/fellowships, sustenance allowance, allowance for laptop and textbooks, etc. partly or fully.
The provision of these scholarshipswill be subjected to availability of funds.

Scheme C2: Fee waiver and sustenance allowance for MPH students


One ST student, who fulfils the selection criteria for the SCTIMST MPH program and top the list will be offered full fee waiver and sustenance allowance for two years.
The provision of this scholarship will be subjected to availability of funds.

Scheme C3: Financial assistance for doing dissertation and seed money to initiate research


This is applicable for students doing PhD/Master’s program at SCTIMST. The provision of this support will be subjected to availability of funds.

Scheme C4: Financial assistance to MPH students whose dissertation work is entirely related to ST population


This scheme is applicable to students doing Master of Public Health (MPH) atSCTIMST,whose work is entirely related to ST population. The assistance include: support for doing dissertation, seed money to initiate research programs, research expenses, etc. The provision of this supportwill be subjected to availability of funds.

Scheme C5: Financial assistance to PhD students whose thesis work is entirely related to ST population


This scheme is applicable toPhD students of SCTIMST,whose thesis work is entirely related to ST population. The assistance include: support for doing dissertation, seed money to initiate research programs, research expenses, etc. The provision of this supportwill be subjected to availability of funds.