Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Tropical and Communicable Diseases, popularly known as Fever Hospital at Nallakunta is the nodal centre for seasonal ailments endemic in Telangana region. And yet, the hospital does not have an international standards virology lab. So, every time outbreaks like Chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis occur, samples from patients are sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for confirmation.
Based on the existing virology lab, constructed at a cost of Rs. 4 crore, the hospital authorities have, rather unsuccessfully, attempted to get recognition from Medical Council of India (MCI) to introduce two post-graduate seats in Tropical Medicine.
In fact, the hospital officials had envisaged that Fever Hospital could be the second institution, after School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, in the country to offer exclusive courses on Tropical Medicine. But, so far, the MCI inspecting teams have thrice rejected the proposals due to infrastructure shortcomings at Fever Hospital.
During its previous visits, the MCI inspecting team had recommended that the hospital has to improve the existing virology laboratory and infrastructure.
The inspecting team suggested that the Fever Hospital should have its own blood bank, hostel facilities for resident doctors, a hi-tech library for reference and improve bed-side facilities for patients.
So far, nothing has been done to plug the loopholes. Persons familiar with the issue point out that Fever Hospital and Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) should share their existing resources to improve medical and research facilities.
The virology lab at Fever Hospital is seriously understaffed with just two microbiologists, one Assistant Professor and a Professor. Whereas, at IPM, there are ten microbiologists who regularly undertake tests related to seasons ailments.
The IPM already has a State-run nodal blood bank while Fever Hospital does not have a similar facility.
The hospital officials are facing difficulties in recruiting technicians for the virology lab, which was supposed to conform to the Bio Safety Level 2 (BSL2) with an ability to identify viral outbreaks like dengue, jaundice, chikungunya, swine flu and even bird flu within 48 hours.