India’s communicable disease institute gets Rs.5 bn grant

July 30th, 2009 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday renamed the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) as National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and announced an investment of over Rs.5 billion to improve its infrastructure.
NICD is the top communicable disease research body of the country. It has played a key role in eradicating small pox, Guinea worm and yaws.

“On this momentous day of the institute’s centenary celebrations, I am happy to announce that from today the government has decided to change the name of NICD to NCDC,” Azad said here.

“The NCDC will provide enhanced quality services. It will play a more meaningful role in the development of public health policy framework, conducting risk factor surveys for non-communicable diseases and developing human resource in public health,” the health minister said.

He announced that in the 11th five year plan, upgradation of NICD to NCDC has been taken up as a new initiative with the budgetary allocation of Rs.510 crore (Rs.5.1 billion).

“We have also obtained in principle approval for this from the Planning Commission.”

The fund will be utilised to build “state-of-the-art laboratories”, he said.

There will be upgradation of infrastructure, modernization of equipment and augmenting the manpower of the institute.

“The institute will also help in developing a network of public health institutions and improving diagnostic capabilities for emerging and re-emerging infections.

“The NCDC will modernize research for disease control, develop Epidemic Intelligence Services (EIS) for prompt response to disease outbreaks and develop disease outbreak forecasting models,” Azad said.

The minister said all these tasks are essential as India faces a peculiar dilemma of having to combat “triple burden of the diseases”. While there is an unfinished agenda of dealing effectively with common communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, there is increasing problem of emerging infectious diseases.

“Over two dozen new disease causing agents have emerged in the preceding three decades.

“Public health services is comparable to a marathon race rather than a sprint. I am sure with persistent and painstaking efforts, we can strengthen our system even further which will enable us to address the emerging issues more scientifically, rationally and promptly.”

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