New directorate for public health mooted

August 30th, 2010 - 11:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) A new directorate of public health should be established to keep a tab on the increasing cases of communicable diseases, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Monday.
“A Directorate of Public Health should be established with people well trained in laboratory practices, surveillance, outreach and investigations. Such a cadre must have personnel from the community level to state level experts,” Azad said while addressing the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare.

“Controlling infectious diseases like malaria, TB, H1N1, measles, polio, chikungunya and dengue need qualified and well-trained public health personnel,” he said.

The Central Council of Health & Family Welfare, which consists of representatives from all the states, met in the national capital today to deliberate on a series of important issues related to health.

Describing swine flu and dengue as a major health challenge, the minister said that the swine flu epidemic has been contained by sustained efforts by the central and state governments while efforts are needed for containing dengue.

“While H1N1 was a new challenge, the prevention and control of infectious diseases represents an old public health concern which calls for unceasing vigilance. Today, we are faced with an aggressive emergence of dengue in the country. As against 3,855 cases at this time of the year last year, we already have 6,279 cases” the minister said.

“Prevention is much more effective than treatment,” he added.

He said that in view of increasing number of lifestyle diseases, the government has recenlty approved the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Strokes.

“Survey reports have clearly established the high prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, cardiac and cancer cases, both in urban and rural areas. Treatment of these diseases is expensive, once again underscoring the need and urgency to focus upon promotive and preventive health care,” he said.

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