Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Shaping health experts and aiding research

THE National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) had its origin as the Central Malaria Bureau, which was established at Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, in 1909. In 1938, it was renamed as the Malaria Institute of India. In 1963, it was again renamed as the NICD.

The institute is under the administrative control of the Directorate-General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. There are eight technical divisions at the headquarters of the institute viz. HIV/AIDS, Biochemistry & Biotechnology, Epidemology, Medical Entomology & Vector Control, Microbiology, Training & Malariology and Zoonosis.

The institute has a number of branches all over the country, including Alwar, Bangalore, Coonoor, Calicut, Rajahmundry, Varanasi, Jagdalpur and Patna.

Courses offered

The institute offers specialised short-term courses for the doctors who are doing research in different fields like HIV/AIDS, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Epidemology, Medical Entomology etc. These courses are also for WHO doctors who have come to India from different countries.


Since the institute does not offer any long-term course on any subject and all its courses are specialised and involve research, it does not have any specific minimum qualification. All the candidates who come here for research are doctors from various fields.


The functions of the institute broadly cover three areas viz. trained health manpower development, specialised services and research.


In each division there are several sections and laboratories dealing with different communicable diseases. The divisions have well-equipped laboratories with modern gadgets for undertaking tests using latest technology. The activities of each division are supervised by the officer-in-charge with the help of medical and non-medical scientists, research officers and other technical and paramedical staff.


The institute maintains a spacious and well-equipped reference library. The library has a good collection of literature and reprints on various aspects of communicable diseases and their control. It has a collection of rare books, manuscripts of original reports on malaria and filaria. Currently, 135 journals, including 90 foreign journals, are being subscribed to. The library has a total of 32,000 titles, 253 maps and 190 other documents relating to different subjects. It also maintains liaison with other scientific and medical libraries in the country for inter-library loans. The NICD library is a participant to the WHO HELLIS network.

Specialised services

The institute provides various referral services, and technical support to individual patients, community, medical colleges, research institutions etc. These include diagnostic and clinical facilities, making available research material, teaching aids, storage and supply of vaccines and so on.

Manish Kumar Singal