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World Health Organisation to start accredited labs in Mumbai, Nagpur by July-end

These would be bacteriology laboratories dealing with vaccine preventable infections

pune Updated: Apr 13, 2019 16:34 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
World Health Organisation,accredited labs,Mumbai
The headquarters of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva.(HT FILE/REUTERS)

With the aim to reduce infant mortality, improve immunisation cover and reduce vaccine preventable diseases in Maharashtra, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is all set to start two new WHO-accredited laboratories in two cities - Mumbai and Nagpur by July end, said Dr Rahul Shimpi, medical officer of WHO (India). He shared the information on the sidelines of the three-day workshop organised by the international body at Hotel Conrad in the city which concluded on April 12, 2019. .

“Earlier, health officials were allowed to confirm and alert the department only if there were five or more confirmed cases of vaccine preventable diseases like mumps, rubella, measles, diphtheria and tetanus. But now, we have instructed all our health officials to report to us even in case of a single suspected case. The suspected cases will be further picked up and the samples will be sent to the government hospital who will further direct them to the WHO accredited laboratories for further confirmation. Samples can be sent by both public and private practitioners. This will help us in identifying the pockets where the immunisation cover is weak and if there are some beneficiaries left. Such initiative will help us in strengthening the programme,” he said.

Shimpi said that these would be bacteriology laboratories dealing with vaccine preventable infections. Citing it as a first of its kind initiative, the WHO official said, “ So far the blood samples of suspected cases of any such bacterial infections were sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV) for confirmation but since NIV is a virology lab, it was chosen to start WHO’s and Public health department’s own facility. For the same, the accreditation by WHO will be given to government-based laboratories which will be scrutinised thoroughly by WHO team before choosing them as the WHO lab. The process is underway and by July end this year, two cities in Maharashtra will get WHO laboratories.”

“The initiative will begin this year itself and is aimed at reducing infant mortality and improving immunisation rate,” said Dr Archana Patil, director of state for family welfare, who was also present at the workshop.

“The recent experience of measles and rubella immunisation campaign helped us in understanding the communities better and taking that experience further, we will use it in picking up cases in a better way. This will help us in evaluating our own programme and strengthening it further,” she said.

Patil explained that the initiative will be helpful in curbing the spread of infections among children. “We have now instructed our officials to report to us even if there is one suspected case. The findings will help us to identify loopholes and high risk areas where immunisation is needed.” Patil said.

The three day workshop by WHO was attended by atleast 200 immunisation officers from the state. Dr Pradeep Awate, state epidemic head and disease surveillance officer was also present.

First Published: Apr 13, 2019 16:33 IST