Govt to set up NCDC centres in all states; foundation stone laid for six

TO BOOST outbreak disease surveillance in the country, a new lab complex with 50 laboratories was inaugurated at the National Centre for Disease Control-Delhi. Along with that, foundation stones were also laid for six state centres in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.

At present, there are eight such regional centres of NCDC that conduct surveillance for a few diseases at the state level. The government plans to set up an NCDC centre in each state, with the entire network monitoring for 33 outbreak diseases, and any other new or re-emerging diseases.

“These branches will better help in surveillance, monitoring, and initiating public health activities for control of an outbreak. It will also boost the state’s diagnostic capabilities,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at the virtual event.

Director General of Health Services Dr Atul Goel said at the event that it is envisioned that the NCDC plays the role similar to CDC in the US. There will be 10 Bio-Safety Level-3 laboratories, with at least one BSL-2 laboratory in each state.

“Some bigger states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, or Madhya Pradesh will have up to four BSL-2 laboratories. This will ensure that patient samples do not have to be sent to the NCDC in Delhi and can be tested locally,” said an official.

The NCDC centres are being set up, with the land being provided by the states and Centre pitching in for construction, equipment, and manpower.

Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya said, “Disease surveillance plays a crucial part in disease prevention, control and management. Towards this end the regional branches of NCDC will pay a pivotal part. They will provide a boost to public health infrastructure with prompt surveillance, rapid detection and monitoring of diseases thereby enabling early interventions.”

He said the government was working towards enhancing indigenous vaccine research, increase in health sector research, and strengthening of the second and tertiary care facilities in India, while increasing access to the primary care facilities.

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At NCDC Delhi, the new laboratory complex houses 50 laboratories, of which 30 are BSL-3 laboratories, five RT-PCR laboratories, and 15 other laboratories.

NCDC director Dr Sujeet Singh said there were a lot of learning from Covid-19 and there was a need to enhance laboratory capacity at the Centre.

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