An underwhelming outbreak at the Nehru Centre

Updated: Dec 09, 2018, 11:25 IST | Gitanjali Chandrasekharan

The latest exhibition at Nehru Centre is pertinent, but it's best to manage your expectations

The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu. Picture for representational purpose
The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu. Picture for representational purpose

On Wednesday evening, taking the mic at the Nehru Science Centre, Dr Ashish K. Jha discussed his travel schedules for a week. It spanned, Boston, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Mumbai. In a short sentences, the director of Harvard Global Health Institute, USA, explained how easy it is in today's world to transport a disease from one corner of the world to the other.

This is the heart of the fortnight-long exhibition titled Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World. But the first glance at the exhibition, set up in association with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), USA, in collaboration with Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI), USA, is a bit underwhelming. For starters, within the science centre it's placed in a corner at the rear that stinks of the washrooms next to it. More importantly, what seemed — thanks to the names associated with it — like it would be a state-of-the art exhibition turned out to be nothing more than three rows of exhibition boards, discussing (only in English) various epidemics right from the HIV/AIDS virus to Ebola. The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu, a pandemic that took the lives of 50 to 100 million people between 3 and 5 per cent of the world's population at that time. India, too, has been a victim of this catastrophic disease outbreak loosing 10 to 15 million lives.

So, should you attend the exhibition at all or not? Now that your expectations have been brought down to reality, yes you could attend it. After all, the conversation on spread of disease is an important one. It also discusses then, the need to report every single outbreak to the government, emphasising why this is important. You might be more inclined to check the mosquito growth in your planters. Vaccination gets its righteous place in the discussion. And you get a chart to analyse a patient's symptoms for TB. In this world of zika, H1N1 it'll pay to be aware. What we liked the most is the call to participation: help the world's scientists compile data and hunt for cures by logging on to
the website www.flunearyou.org/#/outbreak or www.endingpandemic.org/community

When: 9.30 AM to 6 pm, till Dec 20
Where: Nehru Science Centre, Worli
Entry: Rs 50
Call: 24920482

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