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Training Opportunity for Future Clinical Microbiologists at AIPHU
The AIPHU, Bhubaneshwar conducted a 5 day ‘Clinical Microbiology Boot Camp’ from July 19- 23 2022. It was led by guest faculty Dr. Nandita Banaji, Professor & Head, Dept of Microbiology, Indira Gandhi Medical College & Research Institute, Puducherry. Dr Banaji has over 30 years teaching experience, has served as the Chairman of the Board of Studies, Faculty of Medicine, Pondicherry University. And has also authored a textbook “Lectures in Microbiology” for medical students. The AIPHU faculty Drs. Dhiraj Nanda Pradipta Ranjan Rauta (School of Biological Sciences) were also engaged as resource faculty for the workshop.
The applicant response for the camp from postgraduate students of microbiology, public health, and life sciences was overwhelming. As the camp included practical sessions, the participants had to be restricted to 64 from a pool of > 300, including those from AIPHU, other universities in and outside of Odisha state.
The objective of the camp was to familiarize the participants with key concepts in clinical microbiology, observe laboratory diagnostic findings in clinical samples and understand biosafety levels including operating procedures in a BSL-3 laboratory. This was achieved by a series of 14 theory sessions conducted as a small group teaching with audio-visual aids and 7 laboratory sessions.
The microbiology theory sessions included principles of light microscopy, classification and characteristics of bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, with special emphasis on their laboratory diagnosis. This was followed by sessions on infection, epidemiologic principles, immunity, antigens, antibodies, the immune system and the normal immune response.
In the laboratory practical sessions, the participants observed bacteria in stained smears, virus inclusion bodies, fungi in tissues, and parasites in peripheral blood and stool. Serologic and molecular procedures of immunochromatography, ELISA and PCR were demonstrated in the laboratory, along with a visit to a mobile BSL-3 laboratory.
The camp began with a pretest of 30 MCQs taken by all participants, the questions being based on the content of the classes. At the closure of the camp, these 30 MCQs were provided as a post-test to gauge the learning outcome amongst the students and showed significant improvement almost all domains.
The subject of medical microbiology is an important part of the curriculum for master’s course in public health, applied microbiology, and life sciences. However, at most institutions this subject is taught by non-medical teachers. AIPHU felt a critical need for medical teachers with experience in clinical microbiology to share their knowledge with students of these courses. This camp enabled the participants to have a better understanding of the concepts of laboratory medicine and immunology.
The recent pandemic has demonstrated the imminent need of trained public health professionals in our country to deal with the health of the population. If the public health infrastructure is strengthened, it will lead to a decrease in those seeking healthcare following disease, thereby decreasing the need for doctors and expenditure on hospitals. Infectious diseases in particular still constitute a large burden in India and public health professionals trained in clinical microbiology can contribute in a big way towards this end. This camp was a small and maiden step towards achieving this goal that AIPHU plans to organize multiple times in the future.
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