NCDC – an asset in making for health department

[ Bengia Ajum ]

ITANAGAR, 10 Sep: Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on the 6th of this month laid the foundation stone for the establishment of six new branches of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through videoconference, including one in Arunachal Pradesh.

The NCDC has its headquarters in Delhi and at present has eight branches, located in Alwar (Rajasthan), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Kozhikode (Kerala), Coonoor (Tamil Nadu), Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh), Patna (Bihar), Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh), and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).

A 3-acre area has been approved and allocated in Hollongi for the establishment of the NCDC branch. The site is adjacent to the one allocated to the SDRF. The branch, being constructed at a cost of Rs 12 crore, is being executed by the CPWD and is expected to be completed within two years.

The state branch of the NCDC will be managed by the NCDC, Delhi, with support from the integrated disease surveillance programme (IDSP) and the health services directorate.

Manpower, comprising epidemiologists, microbiologists, entomologists, administrative officers and lab technicians, will be recruited centrally by the union health & family welfare ministry/NCDC. However, Group D staffers like storekeepers and watchmen will be recruited by the state government.

The major infrastructures that will come up in the NCDC branch are epidemiology and microbiology sections, a conference hall, a BSL-II level laboratory, and residences for the staffers.

Speaking to this daily, State Surveillance Officer Dr L Jampa, who played an important role in ensuring that an NCDC branch is established in the state, expressed optimism that the branch would immensely benefit Arunachal.

“Since 2016, we have worked hard on this project. The NCDC will be an asset for the health department and the state with regard to disease surveillance, outbreak/epidemic investigation, public health and research,” said Dr Jampa.

He informed that the state NCDC branch is envisaged as a “centre par excellence to give further impetus to the advancement of knowledge in the prevention and control of communicable/non-communicable diseases, with specific focus on statewide surveillance of epidemic-prone communicable diseases through the IDSP, epidemic/outbreak investigations and their containment through the division of IDSP, epidemiology, microbiology, centre for medical entomology and zoonosis, referral laboratory diagnostic support services through the division of microbiology and zoonosis.”

“The NCDC will also focus on training and manpower development, provide technical advisory, and assist in various applied and operational research areas,” said Dr Jampa.

The civil work for the NCDC branch is expected to begin after the end of the monsoon season, he added.

There are several technical divisions in the NCDC headquarters, ie, a centre for epidemiology and parasitic diseases, a division of microbiology (including centre for AIDS & related diseases and biotechnology), a division of zoonosis, a centre for medical entomology and vector management, and a division for malaria and coordination.