News of the first coronavirus patient in Delhi has sparked a wave of panic in the city. Multiple schools have been shut down in Noida and the Hyatt Regency in Delhi has asked its employees to self-quarantine for 14 days. As many as six cases of coronavirus have been suspected in Agra. Some family members of the Delhi coronavirus victim have been quarantined at the Safdarjung Hospital.
With a virus that spreads at such an unprecedented pace, it is a task to identify potential victims. However, the government has a programme in place for such urgent cases, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).
What is IDSP?
The programme constitutes units across all states, UTs and districts in the country, which are always operational. The IDSP constitutes State Surveillance Units (SSU) at all state/UT headquarters, District Surveillance Units (DSU) at the districts and Central Surveillance Unit (CSU) in Delhi. The aim of the programme is to strengthen and maintain decentralised surveillance systems to monitor disease trends and to detect and respond to outbreaks through Rapid Response Teams (RRTs).
How does IDSP work?
Under IDSP, data is collected on epidemic prone diseases on weekly basis. The data is collected on three formats - S or suspected cases, P or presumptive cases and L or laboratory confirmed cases. Such data is filed by health workers, clinicians and laboratory staff respectively. The data gives information as well as seasonality of the diseases.
The RRT jumps in to diagnose and control an outbreak if there is a rising trend of illnesses in any area. The aforementioned surveillance units analyse data and actions regularly.
What does IDSP do?
The programme has the following components:
1. Integrates and decentralises surveillance activities through establishment of surveillance units at Centre, State and District level
2. Trains state surveillance officers, district surveillance officers, RRTs and other medical and paramedical staff on principles of disease surveillance as part of human resource development
3. Uses Information Communication Technology for collection, collation, compilation, analysis and dissemination of data
4. Strengthens public health laboratories
5. Undertakes inter-sectoral co-ordination for zoonotic diseases
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