Staff Reporter

Medical research centre inaugurated in Kolkata

7 lakh children die of the diseases in the country annuallyJapan provides grant for construction of new centre

Kolkata: Diarrhoeal diseases have become the second biggest killer in the country after respiratory diseases, Anbumani Ramadoss, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, said here on Friday.

"The infant mortality rate, which at present is 62 per 1,000 live births, is inexcusable," he said. Almost 7 lakh children die of diarrhoeal diseases in the country annually, he added.

Dr. Ramadoss was speaking at the inauguration of a newly built research centre at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata.

Called the Diarrhoeal Disease Research and Control Centre, the state-of-the-art laboratory will carry out advanced research as well as host national and international seminars.

The Government of Japan had extended a grant-in-aid of Rs. 92 crore for the construction of the new centre to supplement the technical cooperation offered by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to NICED.

The Minister announced that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) would soon be made part of the Department of Health and Family Welfare. Furthermore, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi, would be converted into a National Centre for Disease Control that would act in collaboration with the ICMR.

According to Dr. Ramadoss, the entire country will be networked for surveillance and quick detection of diseases under the Integrated Diseases Surveillance Programme by 2008 as part of a World Bank funded project.

Dr. Yoshifumi Takeda, Chief Advisor of the JICA/NICED project, an expert in the field of infectious diseases research, was honoured on the occasion.