New Delhi: India now has a mechanism to detect outbreak of diseases after the ministry of health and family welfare on Monday launched the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).

The IDSP is a segment of Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) that has been initially launched in seven states i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

“The path-breaking initiative will provide near real-time data to policy makers for detecting outbreak, reducing morbidity and mortality, and lessening disease burden in the populations and better health systems. A first of its kind initiative, the IHIP uses the latest technologies and digital health initiatives," said Preeti Sudan, secretary, union health ministry.

“The success of this platform will depend primarily on the quality of data shared by the states. Data is power," she said.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) under the Union health ministry investigates and recommends control measures for the outbreak of various communicable diseases in the states and Union Territories as well as some neighbouring countries. The NCDC also undertakes monitoring of an outbreak throughout the country, especially during its early rising phase, by collecting information from states.

India is a highly populated and dense country which poses a exponential challenge in spread of infectious diseases. Outbreak of vector-borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya is common in India in the annual monsoon season.

The country has also been witnessing outbreak of new and emerging diseases in the recent past like the Zika virus outbreak in Jaipur Rajasthan, the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, Indian swine flu outbreak and the Odisha jaundice outbreak.

“With globalization, the population has become concentrated. That is why diseases like dengue and chikungunya are re-emerging. The population concentration has created an environment which makes people susceptible to diseases," said Arup Mitra, professor, health policy research unit (HPRU) at the Institute of Economic Growth.

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