Friday, February 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

WHO likely to receive plague report today
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
The Health Ministry is expected to submit its report on plague to the office of the WHO representative to India, Dr Robert Kim-Farley, here tomorrow. This was stated by the WHO representative here today. The Head of the communicable disease division in the WHO’s India office, Dr Devadasan, said the report was ready. “I’ve seen the report. It is awaiting the signature of the Director-General, Health Services, Dr S.P. Aggarwal. We expect it by tomorrow,” he said.

Dr Devadasan said the report would mention the total number of cases of plague, the number of deaths, the place of its outbreak and the measures taken by the government.

While confirming that the WHO had a mechanism of notifying outbreaks, Dr Devadasan said the outbreak had been notified in the WHO website for select health professionals. “Once we get the official report, we will notify it on the global site and the India site as well,” he said.

Sources in the Health Ministry, however, said the prescribed proforma for giving crucial information on plague was not available with the WHO. The sources said they had started the process of transmitting information to the WHO.

Dr Kim-Farley however contended that he would not like to make a “big deal” about the issue. “There is no need for any prescribed format as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care what format they give it in and when they give it. This information is already known in our headquarters in Geneva,” he said.

Although the government’s efforts in containing the spread of the disease have been appreciated by the WHO representative, the disease surveillance system in the country needs to be strengthened to prevent its recurrence.

The Deputy WHO Director to India, Dr Tej Walia, said although the outbreak of an epidemic had been prevented and two incubation periods of the spread of the bacteria were over, there was a need for integrating the disease surveillance system.

“One of the WHO’s mandates is to strengthen the disease surveillance system in the country.” Citing the example of WHO-backed polio surveillance in India, Dr Walia rated it as the “number one in the world.”

Dr Walia said the WHO would like to bring in non-communicable diseases under the disease surveillance system. “The burden of diseases is shifting in the ratio of 50-50 between communicable and non-communicable diseases. This is what we are seeing by the trend in India. The mortality from non-communicable diseases will be higher in the next 20 years. The Cardiovascular disease is already the number one killer in India,” he said.

Mr Harsharan Kaur Pandey, Information Officer of the WHO, said the government had handled the situation rather well and followed WHO guidelines. “All the classic steps in preventing the spread of the disease were taken,” the officer said.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |