Disease surveillance plan a non-starter

The ISDP has also failed to pick up the signs of new diseases from big hospitals where majority of the patients go.

The ISDP worth Rs 400 crore could not collect case-specific data on the age, sex and immunisation status of any individual—essential for surveillance so that clues can be provided to medical investigators. “IDSP is not helpful to monitor disease prevalence of vaccine preventable diseases.  It has so far not helped in early detection of any outbreaks, which is the cardinal role of any true disease surveillance programmes,” an epidemiologist said.

Funded by the World Bank, IDSP was launched in 2004 to look out for 13 major causes of deaths which include road accidents along with malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, plague and some unknown causes. The project was also intended for undertaking sentinel surveys for infections like HIV and Hepatitis-B and C, look for any abnormal rise in risk factors for non-communicable diseases like lack of physical activities, tobacco and nutritional blindness and to cater to specific needs of the states such Kayasanur Forest Disease and Fluorosis in Karnataka.

Seven years down the line, IDSP the failed to produce desired results. “The laboratory confirmation of outbreaks is less than 30 per cent and needs to improve,” said the IDSP internal assessment, a copy of which is available with Deccan Herald.

To improve the number of laboratory-confirmed cases, the laboratories were required to be strengthened, which did not happen despite planning in advance and budgetary provisions.  Designed to be the backbone of the public health delivery system, the IDSP was to be implemented in 592 districts by 2006-07. But close to 150 districts have been left out even after five years of the target date.

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