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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 103-106

Ensuring systematic introduction and implementation of the pandemic module in the medical undergraduate training in India


1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission17-Jun-2021
Date of Decision20-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance28-Jul-2021
Date of Web Publication3-Aug-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
MD, FAIMER, PGDHHM, DHRM, FCS, ACME, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jdrntruhs.jdrntruhs_77_21

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  Abstract 


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created a sense of emergency among the public health authorities and the general population across the world. The present review has been carried out to explore the introduction of pandemic module in the undergraduate medical training period in India. An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine, the Medical Council of India website, and the World Health Organization website. Keywords used in the search include pandemic module, medical education, COVID-19, and awareness in the title alone. Initially, a total of 15 studies were identified, of which five were excluded as they were not matching with the current review objectives. Finally, a total of 10 research articles and one document were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed. In order to be better prepared for the upcoming public health emergencies, including pandemics in the future, it has emerged as one of the necessities that the medical undergraduate students are exposed to the pandemics during the period of their training. Acknowledging the presence of these pressing needs, the Medical Council of India has introduced a Pandemic Module, which will be run on a longitudinal basis, starting right from the time of entry, across all the professional phases, and also in the form of an elective course. To conclude, the introduction of pandemic module in the undergraduate medical education training period is a welcome step to empower the students to discharge their roles effectively in their career. It is now the responsibility of individual medical colleges to properly plan and implement the designated number of sessions and benefit the students.

Keywords: COVID-19, India, medical education, pandemic


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Ensuring systematic introduction and implementation of the pandemic module in the medical undergraduate training in India. J NTR Univ Health Sci 2022;11:103-6

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Ensuring systematic introduction and implementation of the pandemic module in the medical undergraduate training in India. J NTR Univ Health Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 10];11:103-6. Available from: https://www.jdrntruhs.org/text.asp?2022/11/2/103/353222




  Introduction Top


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created a sense of emergency among the public health authorities, and the general population across the world. It is quite shocking to note that as on 15 June 2021, a cumulative total of more than 175 million cases and 3.7 million deaths have been attributed to the novel viral infection.[1] Further, the emergence of the newer strains of the virus in the different parts of the world has made the situation even more challenging, as the nations have not yet recovered from the first wave of the infection itself. The maximum impact of the ongoing pandemic has been observed in the health sector, wherein acute shortage of healthcare professionals and logistics has been reported.[1] The purpose of the current review was to explore the introduction of pandemic module in the undergraduate medical training period in India.


  Methods Top


An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine, the Medical Council of India website, and the World Health Organization website. Keywords used in the search include pandemic module, medical education, COVID-19, and awareness in the title alone (viz. pandemic module [ti]; awareness [ti] AND pandemic [ti] AND medical students [ti]; COVID-19 [ti] AND pandemic [ti] AND module [ti]). Relevant research articles and documents focusing on the introduction of pandemic module in the undergraduate medical training period that are published in the period 2020–21 were included in the review. Initially, a total of 15 studies were identified, of which five were excluded as they were not matching with the current review objectives. Finally, a total of 10 research articles and one document were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed [Figure 1]. Only those articles published in the English language and only those articles for which free full version of the articles was available were selected for the review. The collected information is presented under the following sub-headings, namely Awareness about COVID-19 pandemic, Role of the medical education in better preparedness, Introduction of pandemic module, Components of the pandemic module, Expectations from medical colleges, and Lessons from the field.
Figure 1: Flowchart of eeview methodology

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  Awareness About COVID-19 Pandemic Top


It is of utmost importance that the medical students should be aware of what pandemic is—nature of the infectious disease and the strategies that can limit its transmission in due course.[2] This calls for the need to conduct appropriate awareness studies, so that based on the study findings, specific corrective measures can be taken to improve the competence level of medical students, especially with regard to the containment of the pandemic in the future. In a cross-sectional study done among medical students from two medical universities in China during the ongoing pandemic, it was reported that more than 96% and 98% of the study participants were wearing face masks while going out and stayed at home to the maximum extent, respectively.[2] Similarly, an excess of 77% and 72% of the students revealed that they were handwashing with soap daily and doing it promptly after coming back to home, respectively.[2] In an another cross-sectional questionnaire-based study, it was reported that less than 20% of the students were aware about the practice of teledentistry, which has emerged as the need of the hour to eventually minimize the risk of acquisition of infection among susceptible people visiting hospitals for other complaints.[3] These study findings clearly justify the need of the hour in the field of medical education training to improve the overall preparedness of the medical students.[2],[3]


  Role of the Medical Education in Better Preparedness Top


In order to be better prepared for the upcoming public health emergencies, including pandemics in the future, it has emerged as one of the necessities that the medical undergraduate students are exposed to the pandemics during the period of their training.[4] The medical students have to be adequately trained with regard to the understanding, prevention, investigation, and management of an emerging or re-emerging disease, and this role has to be discharged not only as a healthcare professional, but also in the capacity of a research scholar and a representative of the community.[4],[5]

The medical students have to demonstrate the roles of a professional, a good communicator with all stakeholders, a lifelong learner, and practice medicine as per the laid down ethical standards. It has become an indispensable need that the medical students should not only be competent in the medical knowledge and clinical skills front, but also be prepared to respond to the psychological, social, and legal issues attributed to the disease outbreaks.[5] In other words, the medical graduate should improve their social accountability and be more responsive to the needs of the general population.[4],[5],[6] We must realize that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has significantly emphasized the need to practice evidence-based medicine among medical undergraduates for a successful clinical career and improved patient outcomes.[7]


  Introduction of Pandemic Module Top


Acknowledging the presence of these pressing needs, the Medical Council of India has introduced a Pandemic Module, which will be run on a longitudinal basis, starting right from the time of entry (during the scheduled one-month-long foundation course), across all the professional phases, and also in the form of an elective course.[5] The basic idea for making this as a longitudinal program is to ensure periodic exposure to the pandemic-related topics, so that the students remain aware about their roles and responsibilities during a pandemic, and eventually emerge as a leader and healer in the testing times. The module has been prepared in such a way that it transforms a fresh student into a competent medical graduate, who is capable of adequately and appropriately respond to the unprecedented needs encountered during the times of an outbreak or epidemic in their professional career.[5],[6]


  Components of Pandemic Module Top


During the foundation course, the newly joined students can be exposed to the history of major outbreaks or epidemics or pandemics, their timeline, and the periodicity with which they are being reported.[5] The training during the foundation course has to be organized by pre-clinical departments, and the students can also be informed about how these outbreaks manifested and eventually were controlled. This will prepare the students for their role towards the effective containment of the future events. In the first professional phase, students can be exposed to hand washing, decontamination, and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for safeguarding themselves and the people. In the second phase, the students can be sensitized about the airborne precautions, scope of emerging and re-emerging infections, role of infection control committee, collection of samples, establishing diagnosis, process of development and implementation of vaccines, and protocol to be adopted for the development of a new drug for the containment of the infection.[5],[8]

In the first part of the third phase, the focus has to be given towards the concept of quarantine, isolation, contact tracing, the need for intersectoral collaboration, surveillance, and so on, and the entire part can be catered by the department of Community Medicine. Similarly, an elective module on epidemiology and research aspects can be made available to the students. Finally, in the second part of the third professional phase, the emphasis is given towards emergency procedures, patient care, death-related management, communications, intensive care, and palliative care.[5],[9] It is very important that the students are also trained in the corresponding skills (such as handwashing, donning and doffing, use of telemedicine, etc.) to prepare them holistically for their role.[5]


  Expectations from Medical Colleges Top


The pandemic module has been allocated a total of 80 hours across the entire training period, and it is the responsibility of the individual year's coordinator to allocate the designated hours in the timetable.[5] The Curriculum Committee and Medical Education Unit of the institution can be roped in for the better planning, implementation, and training-related (if required) aspects. It has to be a team approach, wherein all faculty members should work together to ensure that we succeed in attaining the specified learning objectives. It is quite essential that departments from different phases join their hands together for the better delivery of a pandemic module. Each of the planned sessions should be followed up with some form of formative assessment to understand what the students have learned.[5],[6]


  Lessons from the Field Top


At Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, a constituent unit of the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, the entire team of the Curriculum Committee, and faculty members of the first and second professional year have carefully planned and scheduled the allocated number of hours in the master timetable. The rationale for the same has been to ensure that none of the designated topics are missed, and eventually students are benefited. It has been a team effort throughout, and all the contributing departments have taken the lead to maximize the learning outcome. In a study finding reported from Switzerland, a gamified e-learning module was developed to enhance the knowledge and skills of heathcare professionals with regard to right selection and handling of PPE.[10] Similarly, in another study, a web-based health education module was developed for health professionals, and then subsequently, the impact of the same was measured in terms of adoption of the preventive practices by the health workers.[11]


  Conclusions Top


To conclude, the introduction of pandemic module in the undergraduate medical education training period is a welcome step to empower the students to discharge their roles effectively in their career. It is now the responsibility of individual medical colleges to properly plan and implement the designated number of sessions and benefit the students.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 15 June 2021; 2021. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update-on-covid-19---15-june-2021. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Xiao H, Shu W, Li M, Li Z, Tao F, Wu X, et al. Social distancing among medical students during the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic in China: Disease awareness, anxiety disorder, depression, and behavioral activities. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:5047.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Aboalshamat KT. Awareness of, beliefs about, practices of, and barriers to teledentistry among dental students and the implications for Saudi Arabia vision 2030 and coronavirus pandemic. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent 2020;10:431-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Theoret C, Ming X. Our education, our concerns: The impact on medical student education of COVID-19. Med Educ 2020;54:591-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Medical Council of India. Module on Pandemic Management, New Delhi: MCI Press; 2020: p. 1-75.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Chatterjee SS, Shoib S. Mental health: Neglected domain in the pandemic management training module for undergraduates by the Medical Council of India. Indian J Psychol Med 2020;42:585-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Fourtassi M, Hjiej G, Touissi Y, Hajjioui A, Abda N. How has the COVID-19 pandemic improved evidence-based-medicine awareness among undergraduate medical students? Med Educ Online 2020;25:1787123.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Suppan L, Stuby L, Gartner B, Larribau R, Iten A, Abbas M, et al. Impact of an e-learning module on personal protective equipment knowledge in student paramedics: A randomized controlled trial. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 2020;9:185.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Hua X, Gu M, Zeng F, Hu H, Zhou T, Zhang Y, et al. Pharmacy administration and pharmaceutical care practice in a module hospital during the COVID-19 epidemic. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2020;60:431-8.e1.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Suppan M, Gartner B, Golay E, Stuby L, White M, Cottet P, et al. Teaching adequate prehospital use of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic: Development of a gamified e-learning module. JMIR Serious Games 2020;8:e20173.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Abbas K, Nawaz SMA, Amin N, Soomro FM, Abid K, Ahmed M, et al. A web-based health education module and its impact on the preventive practices of health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Educ Res 2020;35:353-61.  Back to cited text no. 11
    


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