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Govt to fast-track disease diagnosis

THE health department has decided to upgrade laboratories in eight medical colleges to the status of referral laboratories, after the recent deaths due to communicable diseases in Bellary.

A sum of Rs two lakh will be provided to each of these colleges, under a two-year project sponsored by the Centre, to purchase kits to test dengue, chikungunya, typhoid, leptospirosis, diphtheria, cholera, viral hepatitis A and E, measles and other epidemic diseases.

Karnataka is one of the nine states selected for this project. The health department disbursed the funds to the colleges recently and is awaiting procurement guidelines from the union health ministry. 

The official informed that blood, urine or stool samples will be sent to these referral labs, which will conduct the tests and give the reports as soon as possible.  

Dr Prasad R S, Director of the Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, said their lab presently had facilities only to conduct culture tests for cholera and typhoid. “As the testing kits for dengue, chikungunya are costly, the samples are being sent to the National Institute of Virology or Public Health Institute in Bangalore. 

But it is not only expensive, but also time consuming,” he said. Dr B O Hanumanthappa of the Bidar Institute of Medical Sciences said the lab was very much necessary in their region where cases of epidemic diseases were frequent.

Dists coming under referral labs

Bangalore Medical College – B’lore rural, B’lore urban, Kolar, Ramanagar, Chikkballapur and Tumkur

Shimoga Institute of Medical Sciences – Chikmagalur, Shimoga and Davangere

Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences – Hassan, Kodagu and Dakshin Kannada

Mysore Institute of Medical Sciences – Mysore, Mandya and Chamrajnagar

Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, Bellary – Bellary, Koppal and Raichur

Bidar Institute of Medical Sciences – Bidar and Gulbarga

Belgaum Institute of Medical Sciences – Bijapur, Belgaum and Bagalkot

Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubli – Dharwad, Uttar Kannada, Haveri and Gadag

(Published in Deccan Herald on 5th January, 2011)

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