Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Bhubaneswar, Dec 22:
With jaundice and encephalitis taking alarming epidemic proportions in Sambalpur and Malkangiri, the very purpose and effectiveness of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) is being questioned.
As per reports, the death toll in jaundice in Sambalpur has already reached 21 while the mystery disease in Malkangiri, suspected to be encephalitis, has already claimed the lives of 14 children by Sunday. The number of jaundice-affected people in Sambalpur and nearby areas has crossed the 1500 mark.
Though jaundice cases were initially reported from the Western Odisha town in May this year, no tangible efforts were initiated to curb the menace which has now become a cause for serious concern for health officials, state government and the people in general.
Recently, 14 children died of Japanese encephalitis within two days of admission into the health centre at Kalimela in Malkangiri. Nonetheless, the number of casualties has dropped; the Health department hasn’t achieved much success in arresting the spread of the disease.
It may be mentioned here that the IDSP, which operates under the public health department, is supposed to be the eyes and ears of the Health department. It submits weekly disease surveillance data on epidemic prone disease collected from reporting units such as sub centres, primary health centres (PHCs), community health centres (CHCs), government and private sector hospitals and medical colleges. The weekly data are analyzed by the State Surveillance Unit (SSU)/ District Surveillance Unit (DSU) for disease trends.
‘‘The efficiency of microbiologist, epidemiologists and health officials are to be questioned as the cases of jaundice were not restricted to Sambalpur. It was reported in other parts of the state also. Recently, cases of cholera were witnessed at Narla in Kalahandi where three people died. The rectal swabs confirmed it to be vibrio cholera which helped restrict the spread of the disease into neighbouring Rayagada and Kandhamal districts,’’ a health official said on condition of anonymity.
IDSP, a project implemented under NRHM, aims to strengthen the disease surveillance system in the country by establishing a decentralized state based surveillance system for epidemic prone diseases to detect the early warning signals, so that timely and effective public health actions can be initiated in response to health challenges in the country at the districts, state and national levels.