SHILLONG, April 26 – The Union Health Ministry has assured that the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) laboratory would be updated and accredited as a testing centre for seasonal influenza H1N1 (swine flu).
The announcement was made by Ashok Kumar, Additional Director General of Central Health Services while addressing a two-day consultative conference on swine flu and other emerging infectious diseases in the North East, which concluded here Saturday at the North Eastern Council (NEC) Secretariat.
He said that NEIGRIHMS being a premier and centrally located institute should be accredited for H1N1 laboratory testing facilities at the earliest. He assured that Union Ministry will take immediate action to accredit the NEIGRIHMS laboratory for this purpose. “This step would benefit Meghalaya and other Northeastern States,” Kumar said.
Health officials from Meghalaya said during the conference that not a single confirmed case of swine flu in the State was reported. Four samples of suspected cases of swine flu were sent to Dibrugarh Medical College for testing and found negative.
On the other hand, Bamin Tada, Health Adviser in NEC mentioned that the North East has a huge shortage of health infrastructure, doctors and paramedical personnel.
“There is a need to improve the health care delivery system in the region, for that the Government of India has to extend more financial support to the State Governments of the region and also the Central health institutes working in the region,” he said.
The objective of the conference was to create awareness on the issues of swine flu and other emerging infectious diseases.
It further aimed at highlighting the control measures and contingency plans needed to be put in place in the respective States of the region under National Infectious Disease Control programmes.
Some of the major resolutions that were adopted during the conference include pursuing with the Central Government to establish diagnostic facilities and laboratories in all NE States so that the suspected cases are identified immediately and proper treatment provided. The other resolution adopted was to gear up the surveillance activities of infectious diseases in individual States of the region.