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Regional centre for disease control proposed to be set up at Haffkine

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Saturday, August 10, 2013, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In order to eradicate infectious diseases and to create linkages with healthcare institutions, a multidisciplinary regional centre for disease control has been proposed to be set up at the Haffkine Institute for Training, Research & Testing (HITRT). The draft proposal of which has been submitted to the State government recently.

Draft proposal submitted to the State Government's Medical Education Department is a part of the road map of HITRT named Vision - 2020. As a part of the vision - 2020, HITRT has also framed SOPs on biological hazardous situations as part of disaster preparedness for insurgencies or incidents like bomb blasts, chemical attack and radiological accidents.

"Though HITRT is associated with National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi on plague, leptospirosis, influenza and rabies, there is a need for multidisciplinary centre of excellence in infectious diseases per se. There is a need for such centres across the country as there are restricted number of laboratories conducting research, training and testing," informed Prof. Abhay Chowdhary, director, HITRT

"The draft proposal also encompasses epidemiological research, rapid response and diagnosis," he added. HITRT has been recognized as National Influenza Centre by World Health Organisation and as a regional centre for hepatitis and rabies.

Talking about the challenges, Prof Chowdhary said that there is a need for proper referrals and linkages between institutions and state of art labs equipped with advanced instruments and high end equipment. High cost of equipment, advanced diagnosis, funding, recognition and training of personnel are some major issues which need to be addressed.

"As a part of the road map, the governing council meeting of HITRT has also recommended setting up of a digital library, Haffkine museum and a Research University. Work on digital library and museum has been initiated. Setting up of the research university which will be an autonomous body will require a funding of around Rs.120 crore," he explained.

Speaking on the elimination of diseases like Poliomyelitis, Dr Mrudala Phadke, former vice chancellor, MUHS, Nashik said, "Though there has been a decline of 99 per cent in cases of Poliomyelitis worldwide since 1988, two cases of Vaccine derived Polio Virus has been reported in Maharashtra at Beed and Navi Mumbai early this year."

The problems attributed to such a scenario is neglect of routine immunisation, immunity gap, poor efficacy of polio vaccine, lack of clinical and virological surveys and operational issues. There is a need for coverage of mobile and migrant populations and intensive coverage in high risk blocks.

According to official reports, around 99 countries have cases of endemic malaria of which 67 of these countries have programmes controlling malaria. Over 30 countries have committed to eliminating malaria globally. "There is a need for new potent anti-malarial drugs with a novel mode of action with a low cost per treatment ranging from US$ 0.13 to US$ 0.20 to control malaria," concluded Dr Akhil Vaidya, director, Centre for Molecular Parasitology, Drexel University College of Medicine, USA.


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