Three years into the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP 2012-17) and the MP government is yet submit detailed proposals for the establishment of Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDL) for timely diagnosis of viral epidemics and continuous monitoring of existing as well as new viral strains, including swine flu (H1N1), acute enphalitis, chikungunya, etc.
This fact came to light after the Central Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in its response to the Madhya Pradesh high court, said the state government had failed to submit proposals in the prescribed format, and hence funds for setting up the diagnostic laboratories had not been released.
The government of India under the 'Establishment of a Network of Laboratories for Managing Epidemics and Natural Calamities' scheme had approved Rs 646.83 crore in 12th FYP towards setting up of 150 laboratories across the country to lower the burden on the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi.
With over 300 deaths due to swine flu this year alone, the state is among the worst affected, but it currently has only two laboratories - one in Jabalpur and the other in Gwalior.
According to the Centre's response, it has approved the setting up of two state-level labs, three at college level and a Biosafety Level (BSL)-III lab at AIIMS, Bhopal.
Of the total Rs 15 crore sanctioned towards setting up the lab at AIIMS, just Rs 5.05 crore has been released so far because certain fund-utilization certificates were still pending.
Further, setting up of a college-level lab at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Indore, too has been stuck due to non-submission of paper work at the college level, the Centre told the court.
The state government, however, denied the Centre's contention.
After hearing the arguments, the division bench at the principal seat in Jabalpur comprising justices Rajendra Menon and SK Seth directed both the Central and state governments to resolve all issues at the earliest and set up a testing lab in Indore.
Man tests positive for H1N1 in Indore
After four months of quiet, H1N1 flu virus, commonly known as Swine flu, is back to haunt health officials. Its newest victim, a 40-year-old man from Indore was been detected positive on Wednesday.
After two days in Greater Kailash Hospital, where the man was admitted after complaining of severe cough, cold and having trouble breathing, he was shifted to Apollo Hospital and put on ventilator.
"The case of this man comes as a surprise to us as he did not travel anywhere and was confined to his house only. His samples were taken on Monday when the doctors noticed that he had severe problem in breathing accompanied with high temperature. It was then confirmed that he was a swine flu patient," said Dr GL Sodi, in-charge of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP).
Health officials, who usually see a couple of H1N1 cases emerge when the weather is cold and humid, were caught unawares with the recent case.
"The H1N1 virus usually develops in climatic conditions which are cold and humid, but this case happened at a time when the temperatures are pretty high in the city," Dr Sodi said.