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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 26, 2013
In the wake of the latest natural calamity in Uttarakhand, the government is fast-tracking plan to establish dedicated laboratories across the country to deal with epidemics and natural disasters. The centre plans to set up over 150 such labs to build capacity to identify and fight viruses that can spread epidemics. It also wants to set up a dedicated fund for rapid mobilisation of resources in response to outbreak of infectious diseases in the aftermath of a calamity.

The Rs. 647crore proposal also aims to provide special training to health professionals to manage such situations. The Union cabinet is set to approve the proposal on Thursday.

The health ministry wants to set up these laboratories in such a manner that in case of a natural calamity, the rescue teams will not have to rush to an establishment to tackle epidemic. A 2011 ministry report says, “Till date there is grossly inadequate infrastructure in the country for timely diagnosis and management of populations affected with viral diseases.”