The NUMS Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities in collaboration with NUMS Environment Committee conducted a session titled “Environment Friendly Practices” on July 1st, 2021 at NUMS PWD campus. Representatives from Davaam which is an organization working on energy, sustainability and environment had kindly consented to give an interactive talk to students and faculty from Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, Biological Sciences and Public Health. The guest speakers included Mr. Salman Tariq (CEO) and Mr. Omer Ghaznavi (MD) who introduced the online and onsite audience to concepts of energy efficiency and obsolete technology, current status of waste management practices in Pakistan and innovative projects. It was discussed that waste management proactive measures start before waste is created.
The guest speakers appreciated the presence of multidisciplinary audience and emphasized that “environment” is an interdisciplinary domain which thrives on ideas from engineering, design, social sciences, biological sciences, quality assurance, finance etc.
The students and faculty were encouraged to conceptualize socially relevant projects that could contribute to environment related issues. With majority audience being female, the guest speakers acknowledged that it is a high time for women entrepreneurs with key funding and mentorship available. The session ended with a hope that future workshops on entrepreneurship and waste management may be planned to accelerate environment related activities.
The NUMS Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (DSBS) held its tenth session of “Samaaj Khayaal”- a fortnightly series, which aims to transcend disciplinary boundaries, find connections and bring to light issues of social relevance. The session titled “Community Development and Human Rights” was held on June 25th, 2021 at NUMS PWD Campus. Mr. Muhammad Kashif Kamal, who is currently serving as the Director Human Rights Helpline at Ministry of Human Rights, Pakistan had kindly consented to be the guest speaker.
Mr.Kashif introduced the multidisciplinary onsite and online audience including students, faculty and management to the concept of human rights, relevant policies and acts being implemented in Pakistan and his experience working with the vulnerable groups of the society. Ms. Fatima Athar, student of BS-Social Science of Health, welcomed the audience and moderated the session. Ms. Taskeen Mansoor, Lecturer DSBS presented a glimpse of Samaaj Khayaal and introduced the guest speaker. The guest speaker gave a comprehensive presentation about concepts related to community, development and human rights in which he discussed how our development projects and policies should be in alignment with criterion set in Human Development Index (HDI) and Global Gender Parity Index.
Following the presentation, audience asked the questions which were addressed by the guest speaker. It was discussed how pandemic has exacerbated the human rights violations, how vulnerable groups need positive discrimination and how helplines provide a safe place for individuals to seek legal advice. Dean Social Sciences and Humanities, Prof. Dr. Azam Chaudhary in his concluding remarks acknowledged the work of the guest speaker and posited that for effective policy making, we need to understand our cultural practices as these sensitive social issues like gender based violence and issues of transgender community are anchored into our culture. Dr. Shazia Khalid, Assistant Professor Psychology gave a vote of thanks and advocated for a framework for internships and community work in the ministry of human rights that students could be a part of in future. She also thanked the organizing team led by Ms.Saira Javed (Lecturer, Psychology).
At the end of the session, the guest speaker was awarded NUMS souvenir, followed by a group picture and informal interaction of audience over tea.
In recent Sustainability Research & Innovation congress (2021, at Brisbane), Dr. Wasim Sajjad Assistant Professor DBS, NUMS presented his virtual idea and contested in competition. The idea was based on the concept of circular Bio-economy to provide as sustainable bio-based solution to textile industry. The textile sector in Pakistan contributes 57% to the country’s exports, contributes 8.5% to the GDP and second largest employment sector in Pakistan. The Pakistani textiles industry is facing serious challenges of water and energy costs that directly hampers its competitiveness in the international market, however one of the solutions to make Pakistan's textile industry more globally competitive is sustainable technological solutions "make more with less" while saving energy and generating less waste can support the industry in mitigating these challenges. Dr. Wasim Sajjad highlighted the role of microbes in bio-economy. Moving from the traditional techniques and petrochemicals towards a sustainability by use of microbial biotechnology is the future. Value-added compounds ranging from house hold detergents to expensive bio-based colors, enzymes and chemicals can be produced from the industrial effluent and sustainable feedstock. Textile processing with enzymes is a win-win, cut production times (20–25%), energy (25-30%), harsh chemicals (1 ton of CO2), and water (70,000 liters) per ton knitted fabric.
Worldwide, the month of April is celebrated as Autism Awareness Month. In lieu of this occasion, the NUMS Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (DSBS) organized a one-hour online sensitization session for the student population on 12th April 2021.
Ms. Taskeen Mansoor (Lecturer-Anthropology, DSBS) opened the session by highlighting the need for awareness around autism which has seen a dramatic increase in its prevalence over the years. She mentioned how the lack of information about its symptoms and uncertain pathways to care yield in misdiagnosed or undiagnosed cases that subsequently lead to poor quality of life for affected children and their families.
Ms. Anum Farooq (Clinical Psychologist), with academic certifications in Autism Screening and Management, research publications and professional experience of working with children on the autism spectrum, had kindly consented to speak on the issue. In her presentation, the guest speaker provided the audience with a holistic understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder by talking about its physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects. She discussed how, as a neuro-developmental disorder, the signs of autism can be observed in the first two years of life. Elaborating the wide variation in autism cases, she showed examples of how each case of autism is different from the other based on the type of symptoms and their severity on a spectrum. The guest speaker talked about the screening tools for diagnosis, behavioral therapies and relevant organizations currently working in Pakistan. She also explored the struggles of people with autism and people working for autism in different capacities, as a caregiver, a researcher, an educationist or a health care professional.
Feedback forms were also disseminated to students who acknowledged the command of guest speaker on the topic. The students from social and behavioral sciences and public health department requested for further sessions on childhood disorders and their management along with exposure to institutes providing therapies to children. The session ended with a vote of thanks.
As the world is facing a crisis of pandemic, on one hand where it is essential to take care of those who fall prey to this virus, it is equally essential to care for those who are forced to stay indoors and have to follow a monotonous pattern of routine. During this seismic shift it is necessary for everyone to keep their spirits high, both morally and spiritually. This current situation of lockdown and unprecedented vacations in academic institutions is very unfortunate and long term confinement of people in their homes can give rise to many psychological issues like stress, depression, anxiety etc.
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, NUMS tried its best to facilitate the students in these hard times. Along with the flexible online class timings, it adopted different strategies for different subjects, keeping in view the comfort of students. To ensure that students maintain a healthy mindset in these hard times, Ms. Saira Javed (Lecturer – Clinical Psychology) is playing a pivotal role by conducting Online Counseling Sessions on weekly basis with all running semesters of DSBS which helps the students not only to express their concerns but they also receive advices on how to engage themselves in activities that help them to divert their attention from stressful global scenarios. This proves to be very helpful in eradicating anxiety and stress.
The Group Counselling Sessions are held weekly with interaction through online application along with full time availability on mobile/WhatsApp in case any student want to take suggestions or word their problems, expecting solutions to them, thus providing Individual Counselling Sessions as well.
Ms. Saira and students were able to come up with the theme of Art from Home during the first series of session, including the participation of students in creative activities like photography (from within the home), painting and sketching and involving in activities like cooking and baking or any other talent they are endowed with. It was suggested to develop a hobby to engage in when feeling stressed like exercising, reading or other soothing activities.
In the second phase, students were encouraged not only to keep their own mental state in check but also those surrounding them, family and friends. Indoor group activities were appreciated, students themselves can become a support system for their family especially for elderly and young children who might not be able to rationally deal with the anxiety due to confinement in homes and continuously watching and listening news. This session was titled as Reducing Stress in Yourself and People around You. While the third and last stage is planned to taught stress, anxiety and depression reducing Self-Therapy that includes Deep Breathing and Mindfulness Mediation.
This thoughtful act on the behalf of department is of much help to students and their significant others to keep them away from developing distress and depression. These sessions aim at engaging students in constructive activities. This platform provides students with strategies to cope up with stress, fear and other detrimental effects associated with the COVID-19 outbreak that may exacerbate student’s situation.
The World Immunization Week - a global public health campaign was held during the last week of April, to raise awareness and increase rates of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases around the world. Behavioral Sciences’ team, multidisciplinary department at National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) conducted a session titled ‘Dynamics of Polio Eradication in Pakistan’ on 7th May 2018 at Professional Development Centre (PDC).
The session started with the opening remarks of Director Research, Prof. Dr. Aisha Mohyuddin who emphasized upon the significance and need of conducting research on issues like polio immunization and its eradication. Mr. Danish Nadeem, Research Nurse Manager shared his experience of working with the polio vaccination teams and highlighted vaccination schedules in the context of public health.
A team comprising of Ms. Taskeen Mansoor, Ms. Anum Farooq and Mr. Anayat Ullah conducted focused group discussions with the diverse group of NUMS’ University Management Trainees (UMTs). The team presented their research titled ‘Knowledge of Polio and perceptions regarding Polio eradication initiatives’ and discussed the findings on polio team recruitment, data handling, security concerns, cultural and religious beliefs and the role of influential people, i.e. religious and community leaders, women, politicians and heads of household.
Dr. Rehma Gilani, a public health specialist from NUMS highlighted scientific concepts related to polio vaccination and addressed different myths about polio. A role-play was enacted for the audience, which presented as to how polio teams visit homes during door-to-door campaigns and document data.
The guest speaker for the session, Brig (Retd) Bashir Ahmed Malik, Pakistan Army’s Technical Focal Person, National Emergency Operation Centre for Polio (NEOC) delivered his talk on ‘Pakistan Polio’s last comfort zone’. He shared the detailed statistics related to polio cases and operations of polio eradication programs at different levels. He discussed how relevant stakeholders, taskforces and committees have been working on polio eradication program operations, monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance, security co-ordination and communication strategies. He shared his valuable experiences stressing upon the dire need to address the challenges like persistently missed children, chronic refusals, operational gaps, high risk mobile populations, cross border transmission and program fatigue.