Winners of Essay and Photography Contest Reveal Creativity and Understanding of Zoonoses

The RCZI team and expert judges from the public health domain have expressed satisfaction at the response to the essay contest announced on the eve of World Zoonoses Day 2016. As part of the larger work being done by RCZI, the contest aimed to draw students from agriculture universities, medical schools and other public health organisations and get them to share their views on three different aspects of zoonoses. This was an attempt to create greater awareness and dialogue on an under-reported, less understood public health issue which needs attention, post SARS, Avian Influenza and in more recent times, Ebola and Zika.

More than 150 entries were received for both contests, from students of community medicine, veterinary science, and MBBS amongst others. They represented leading government and pri-vate, national and state universities such as College of Veterinary Sciences, Hisar, Haryana; Ru-faida College of Nursing, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi; GGMERS Medical College and General Hospital, Vadodra; Government Medical College, Kohikode; IVRI, Bareilly; Telengana State Uni-versity for Veterinary Animal and Fishery Sciences, College of Veterinary Science, Karimnagar District in Andhra Pradesh, UCMS Delhi.

A variety of opinions and information was received through individual entries. The judges who represented the fields of public health, zoonoses, infectious diseases , journalism and visual arts had a difficult time selecting the winning contestants. For the Essay contest, the judges have selected 3 best entries (which happen to coincidentally represent the three topics that were shared) and have also decided to award Consolation prizes to 3 additional entries which have been given in the box at the end of this page. For the photography contest, apart from the top 3 most compelling images that were faithful to the theme have been awarded. In addition 10 consolation prizes are being given to those photographs which made it to the shortlist.

Based on their ratings and feedback, the ‘On the Fringes’ team has summarised key points for better understanding of how the essay and photo contest was judged:

Basis of assessment/selection: The judges kept in mind three things while rating the entries. They looked at content, style and language. Content was the main criteria and it looked at how information was included, what was its authenticity and relevance to the topic and how the narrative was built. Many entries saw a bundling and cramping of information from multiple searches across the Internet without coming together as a comprehensive and engaging essay. So far as style was concerned, it was important to note presentation of the essay in terms of flow, paraphrasing and the writing style. The style would essentially reveal in this kind of an as-signment, the contestant’s assimilation of the topic. Clearly this is not one of those essays where one can write from one’s own memory or experience. One has to draw from reliable sources of information. However, this must be first understood, absorbed and then articulated in a logical and engaging way. While language is a critical area to factor in an essay, here the judges were lenient and did not penalise contestants for grammar, syntax and spellings.

Photographs were judged on the basis of visual appeal, composition, relevance to the topic and to the work RCZI is doing. They reflected the right balance of light and subject matter, props and other details that created a theme. A lot of the images were evocative, and were striking in the raw power of narrative, but were sometimes framed poorly or shot out of focus, making them difficult to be considered for the final ten. The judges realised that the photographs were mostly taken by amateur photographers, often armed with nothing but a camera phone, so the major emphasis was on the narrative that the photos wove, rather than the technical excellence of the images themselves.

The RCZI views this year’s World Zoonoses Day events as the beginning of an ongoing partnership to spread awareness about zoonoses and the ways in which it can build a prose and photo-narrative of the way in which we, as a society, respond to this emerging, yet very real threat. In the coming days, edited versions of each of these winning essays will be published on the blog of ‘On the Fringes’. All winning photographs will be published as a slide show with due credit to the photo-owners. Meanwhile, each of the winners are being intimated via email and their prize money being couriered separately. The team thanks all contestants who took part and hopes to have them as regular visitors to the websites managed by PHFI/RCZI.


Essay Contest

1st place: Tamoghna Biswas, Junior Resident, Medical College Kolkata for his essay on “Reactive to Proactive: Sharpening Health System Response for Zoonoses Control”

2nd Place: Vamshi Krishna, PhD Scholar, Division of Bacteriology and Mycology, Indian Veteri-nary Research Institute for his essay on “Reactive to Proactive: Sharpening Health System Response for Zoonoses Control”

3rd Place: Ramya Pinnamaneni MBBS for her essay on “Reactive to Proactive: Sharpening Health System Re-sponse for Zoonoses Control”

Special Mentions:

  1. Sruthi C, 4th year BVSc, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pookode, Wayanad for her essay on “Poverty and Zoonoses”
  2. Deepak Chandra Badhani, 3rd Prof part I, MBBS, Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali Govt. Medical Sciences and Research Institute for his essay on “Zoonoses in Urban and Peri-Urban Domains: Threats in Low-Middle-Income Countries”
  3. Kamal Kumar, 4th year, BVSc and AH, College of Veterinary Sciences, Luvar, Hisar, Haryana for his essay on “Poverty and Zoonoses: Impact on human and animal health”
  4. Anirban Chatterjee, Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, New Delhi for his essay on “Zoonoses in Urban and Peri-Urban Domains: Threats in Low-Middle-Income Countries”
  5. Shivangi Sharma, MSc Nursing, Rufaida College of Nursing, Jamia Hamdard for her essay on “Poverty and Zoonoses: Impact on human and animal health”

Photography Contest

1st Place: Nethra S, Pre-final Year, Tirunelveli Medical College for the photograph of vendor selling desiccated animal parts

2nd Place: Santu Mandal Midnapore Medical College for the photograoh of an old lady and the pig sty

3rd Place: D. Mohita Sree BVSc, Hyderabad Veterinary College for the photograph of street dogs and homeless men

Special Mentions:

  1. Vaishali Gautam PGT, Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi
  2. Ramya Pinnamaneni, MBBS
  3. Santu Mandal, Midnapore Medical College
  4. Vinu Cherian, PGY2, Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi
  5. Nripendra Singh, PGT, Community Medicine, LLRM Medical College, Meerut
  6. Rubina Tazayyin
  7. Venkatashivareddy B MBBS, MD, DNB (AIIMS, New Delhi)
  8. Jyotik Bhachech, Psychiatrist, Ahmedabad
  9. Arti Gupta MBBS, MD, DNB (AIIMS, New Delhi)
  10. Nethra S, Pre-final year, Tirunelveli Medical College
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