Chennai: In a significant step, the Tamil Nadu government is pressing for a full-fledged National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) unit in Chennai to fight epidemics and seasonal viral diseases, which claim several lives year after year here.
This comes at a time when Chennai is facing a threat of epidemic outbreak post devastating floods leaving several areas filled with filth, a perfect recipe for deadly viruses to thrive.
Though establishing NCDC is part of a long-term strategy of the state to be equipped to counter any rare viral strains, the move will be a shot in the arm for healthcare providers, who are always dependent on National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune and NCDC, New Delhi, to confirm rare viral strains and agents behind frequent outbreaks of mysterious ailments.
A team from NCDC led by its director S. Venkatesh was in Chennai on a four-day visit last week carrying out detailed field study of flood-hit Chennai and also giving expertise in prevention and control measures in the affected areas.
During the visit and subsequent technical discussions, the proposal of NCDC unit was raised and a decision was taken to fast-track it. Also, the team has given a written note of standard operating procedure post flood scenario. “NCDC has plans to establish its units in several important cities in the country to improve healthcare. The proposal to set-up NCDC in Chennai has been under consideration for several years, but now a decision is taken to prioritise it”, a senior official in NCDC, who was part of the team that visited Chennai, told Deccan Chronicle.
On the situation in Chennai, the official said the state government and Chennai corporation are doing their best to prevent an epidemic outbreak. “However, we have also given our recommendations after visiting the affected areas. Our director has also appraised the situation in Chennai to union minister for health and family welfare J.P. Nadda and submitted a report,” he said.
Along with the NCDC team, officials from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) have also visited Chennai and held meetings with authorities from the state health and family welfare department and Directorate of Public Health.
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