Dr. S. Venkatesh, Director, NCDC
Effective communicable disease control relies on effective response system and effective response systems rely on effective disease surveillance. A functional surveillance system is essential to provide information for action on priority communicable diseases; it is a crucial instrument for public health decision-making.
The Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) was launched with World Bank assistance in November 2004 to detect and respond to disease outbreak quickly. It got converted into the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) during 12th Plan and functions under the umbrella of the National Health Mission.
The principal objective of IDSP is to strengthen/maintain a decentralized laboratory- based IT enabled disease surveillance system, for epidemic-prone diseases to monitor disease trends and to detect and respond to outbreaks in early rising phase through trained Rapid Response Team (RRTs).
In a short span of about 11 years, IDSP has made significant achievements both structurally and functionally. State/District Surveillance Units and Rapid Response Teams (RRT) are in place for all 36 States/UTs. IT network connecting States/District Headquarters and premier institutes has been established with the help of National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for data entry, training, video conferencing and outbreak discussion.
IDSP has been able to collate weekly disease surveillance data through IDSP portal from 91% of the districts in the country ; data on epidemic-prone diseases are being collected from reporting units such as sub-centers, primary health centers, and community health centres, hospitals including government and private sector hospitals and medical colleges. The weekly data are analyzed by SSUs/DSUs for disease trends. Whenever there is rising trend of illnesses, it is investigated by the RRTs to diagnose and control the outbreaks. In the year 2015 alone, a total of 1935 disease outbreaks were reported and responded to in the country through IDSP.
IDSP has been reviewed, recently from 26 November to 8 December, 2015 by a Joint Monitoring Mission with national and international experts, to assess the achievements since its inception and progress made on 12th five year plan targets and review IDSP programme implementation at national, state and district level. The mission had reviewed the overall ongoing progress of IDSP in the core areas of surveillance, laboratory network, information systems, infrastructure, governance, finance and human resources. It will advise us on changes required in the current model and propose a prioritized action plan based on the assessment findings
My felicitations to the IDSP team for their endeavours and achievements. I am sure readers shall find the material on this website informative and useful.