Authored by Arpita Shetty (PGP 2016), the article highlights the efforts of Mr Siddarth Raman (PGP 2016) during the pandemic in Mumbai
“Sid is absolutely critical to this entire operation. We hope to have him working with us for the next few months, till the pandemic under control.” – Joint MC Ashutosh Salil (IAS)
The containment of any pandemic begins with data, and more precisely, its collection, cleaning and analytics. Governing bodies need to have access to accurate data to undertake strategic decisions such as planning for infrastructure and personnel (incl., administrative, healthcare, security) and more.
Siddarth Raman, Class of 2016, is aiding the effort to streamline the data reporting and contact tracing efforts currently underway in Mumbai. He started when there were ~2,000 cases in Mumbai, helping the task force streamline the collection of daily incoming data from the COVID-19 diagnosis labs and recovery centres. Today, he works with two of the IAS officers in the task force, Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Bhide (COVID-19 Strategy & War Room Monitoring) and Joint Municipal Commissioner Ashutosh Salil (COVID Care Centre Management), on data management for the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Siddarth quit his job as a Consultant with Bain & Company in April 2020, to explore opportunities within the social service sector. As Mumbai began to report the highest transmission rates in the country, he actively reached out to his network and signed up to volunteer with the BMC.
The core of Siddarth’s work is to manage the testing data pipeline in Mumbai. The city needed a robust and scalable set of IT systems and processes to manage the large quantum of patients. The magnitude of the problem was further exacerbated by the vast number of stakeholders accessing and managing the data (incl. 24 ward teams, on-ground health teams, labs, hospitals, central epidemiology cell teams, covid care centres, COVID-19 central portal teams, etc.)
Over the last ten weeks, Siddarth has worked untiringly (Author’s note: As his wife, I can attest to multiple 2 AM nights, followed by 5 AM mornings) to set up an accurate, and more importantly, a scalable system for near real-time reporting and management of positive cases. A ‘sole’dier at first, he has now bolstered the system with on-ground support, instituting local teams at each of the 24 wards in the metropolitan. With the aim of creating a sustainable flow, Siddarth has administered multiple trainings for several stakeholder groups, and ensured a seamless transition to the new system.
As his role has grown within the task force officers’ teams, Siddarth has leveraged his network and roped in friends, acquaintances, and acquaintances of acquaintances to help him solve specific issues. This meant an undergrad duo helped develop the deduplication algorithm, a group of professional coders put it into action, and a consultant helped set up the CRM system and sign up more data volunteers for the ward-level local teams.
Today, Mumbai runs a highly complex, massive ground-level operation that allows for real-time monitoring and management of the patient through the entire lifecycle from testing to hospitalization to quarantine to discharge.
As the number of cases surpasses 60,000, Siddarth’s and his team’s efforts have helped the BMC manage the positive cases and at-risk contacts, and ensure accurate data to draw the transmission curves more precisely. Ultimately, this has led to improved understanding of the pandemic, better shaping of the response strategy, and focused deployment of the monitoring and control measures, making Siddarth a Hero on the Frontline.
When reached for a comment, his wife said she was very proud of him despite being super worried about him travelling to the MCGM offices (armed with his PPE and essential services pass of course). She also quipped that he had been doing the dishes and clearing the cat litter as per the agreed schedule. And hence, she has deemed him a Hero in the Household as well.