Pandemic preparedness, disease surveillance crucial: Mandaviya

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Union health minister

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said that pandemic preparedness and disease surveillance anchored in strong health are crucial to ensure better protection from major disease outbreaks. He was speaking at the stone laying ceremony at National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Emphasizing that these institutions under NCDC will be in the interest of the local populace, he said “the Government of India is committed towards strengthening the surveillance of infectious diseases and outbreak response through strengthening of NCDC”.

Mr Mandaviya laid the foundation stone for NCDC Regional Branch in Assam, State branches in 6 States (Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha, West Bengal and Mizoram) and BSL-3 labs in 2 States (Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand) virtually at the NCDC on Tuesday. He also inaugurated a temporary NCDC Regional branch in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He also dedicated the Auditorium and Library block as a part of Upgraded NCDC, Delhi to the nation and released several technical documents.

Mr Mandaviya said that these regional branches of NCDC will help in combating diseases with regional variations like CCHF, KFD, Scrub typhus. “The health infrastructure facilities inaugurated today, or for those whose foundation stone has been laid, will substantially boost our regional, district and block level healthcare infrastructure and will further augment the surveillance, diagnostics and public health preparedness and response capacity for any impending outbreak or pandemic in future”, he said.

Applauding NCDC for its contributions, Mr Mandaviya said, “India has performed better than many other countries in fighting the COVID pandemic. NCDC has been at the forefront in instituting containment measures including community surveillance, contact tracing and response in coordination with the State and local governments.” He further added NCDC is the nodal agency for Public Health Surveillance and Response, epidemiological support including outbreak investigations in addition to diagnostic capacities for bacterial, viral, zoonotic infections and parasitic diseases.

The Union Health Minister said, “Healthcare professionals and practitioners are like defence forces; they can never be in a complacent mood. They have to always be on the alert. There can be no lean period for our healthcare army, we have to strengthen and sharpen our skills for timely surveillance and disease detection.” He also released technical documents like ‘Vision document of Centre for One Health’, ‘Report of the First Multicentric Point Prevalence Survey of Antibiotic Use at 20 NAC-NET Sites’ and “National Strategic Plan: Malaria Elimination-2023-27’ on the occasion.