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NITI Aayog today released 'Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India', where it proposed strengthening the Public Health Surveillance (PHS) in India by implementing a surveillance information system.

"Going forward, India's public health surveillance will be based on individual Electronic Health Records (EHR) that capture and amalgamate individuals' health-care related information through the use of a unique health identifier (UHID)," the government's think-tank said in a statement.

"To make India’s public health surveillance system more responsive and predictive to enhance preparedness for action at all levels," it added.

Jointly prepared by Niti Aayog and University of Manitoba in Canada, the white paper puts forward the vision for India's public health surveillance. This vision is to be achieved by 2035 through the integration of three-tiered public health system into Ayushman Bharat.

Additionally, it explains the need for expanded referral networks and enhanced laboratory capacity. "The building blocks for this vision are an interdependent federated system of governance between the Centre and states, a new data-sharing mechanism that involves the use of new analytics, health informatics, and data science including innovative ways of disseminating ‘information for action’", the government think tank said in the statement.

NITI Aayog also mentioned that the goals of the PHS should include predicting or forecasting epidemic outbreaks for communicable and emerging epidemics of non-communicable disease. It also proposed that the diseases should be prioritised in a way that can be targeted for elimination as a health problem, regularly improving core support functions.

It also speaks about establishing mechanisms to streamline data sharing, capture, analysis and dissemination for action.

"The paper released today is envisaged to serve as a vision document to propel public health surveillance in Indiaand establish India as a global leader in the area," NITI Aayog said in the statement.

Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of NITI Aayog, said India has made substantial progress in the prevention, control and elimination of major communicable diseases. "The time is right to enhance the surveillance of non-communicable diseases and to replace traditional surveillance systems of data-entry with recent developments in digital health and technology, in alignment with the National Digital Health Mission," he added.

This paper was released by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Dr Vinod K Paul, member, Amitabh Kant, CEO and Dr Rakesh Sarwal, additional secretary.

With inputs from agencies

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