Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss asked the State Governments to be ready and create effective emergency response mechanisms to tackle any disease.

Chairing a high-level review meeting on the country's preparedness to deal with the outbreak of avian influenza here on Tuesday, Dr. Ramadoss stressed the need to take proactive measures like a contingency plan, train rapid response teams, standardise operating procedures, stockpile anti-viral drugs and personal protective equipment to deal with any eventuality.

Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary, Director General of Health Services, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research and other senior officials attended.

The meeting noted that since the avian flu outbreak in January 2006, surveillance capacity was strengthened considerably.

A BSL-3 laboratory was commissioned at the National Institute of Communicable Disease at Delhi and two more would be set up at Kolkata and Guwahati.