Government of India Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) Department of Health & Family Welfare
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HUMAN RESOURCE 

One of the critical components for establishing an effective and responsive surveillance system is the availability of suitable health workforce which includes Epidemiologists, Microbiologists, Entomologists and Veterinarians, amongst others. It is widely acknowledged that in addressing the emerging health needs of the population, the health workforce is confronted by issues of shortages, skewed distribution, quality, accountability, weak capacity, work overload, inadequate growth opportunities and motivation. It is a growing challenge to maintain the needed numbers, quality, mix and distribution of workers to satisfy the healthcare needs of the entire population. Under IDSP, various initiatives were taken with implementation experiences and further major activities are underway and planned to address these issues. 

ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE:

Central Surveillance Unit:

A senior officer from NCDC (Additional Director level) is designated as National Programme Officer (NPO), to coordinate the project activities under six sections namely Budget & Finance, Laboratory strengthening, Information Technology and Communication, Data Management and Monitoring, Human Resource Development and NCD Surveillance. This arrangement facilitated utilizing the services of Epidemiologists, Microbiologists and Statistical officers of NCDC to support the NPO in ensuring enhanced technical support, improved state oversight and troubleshooting. 

During inception of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project in 2004, the contractual positions sanctioned for CSU were Consultant (IT), Consultant (Procurement), Consultant (HR), Consultant (Finance), Accounts Officer, Data Manager, Data Processing Assistants, Data Entry Operators, Stenographer, Administrative Consultant and Class IV staff. In 2005 the World Bank recommended positioning regional coordinators for strengthening monitoring of project implementation by Phase-I States. Subsequently six regional coordinators were placed in 2006 to support state units. During 2006-2007, the post of Consultant Training had been abolished and Training Manager post was created at CSU.  In 2006-07, the Administrative unit shifted to NCDC and the Director of NCDC became the Project Director of IDSP. 

A team from Centre for Disease Control & Prevention visited India for IDSP review during 7-17 September, 2007. On the basis of the team’s recommendations, other positions created at CSU during 2007-08 were those of Web Consultant (1), Statistician-cum-Programmer (1), Administrative Consultant (1), Data Entry Operator (1), Data processing Assistant (1) and Finance Consultant (1).

Subsequently along with the expansion of the project in 2007-08, the need of technical support arose for ensuring timely and efficient implementation of the project. The Government of India took decision to recruit seven Epidemiologists and two Microbiologists for CSU to strengthen IDSP. During restructuring of the project in March 2010, Expenditure Finance Committee sanctioned the engagement of 13 additional contractual manpower at CSU on 28th February, 2010. The positions sanctioned were Advisor Epidemiologist, Advisor Microbiologist, Management Expert, Documentation Officer, Communication Officer, and Consultant (IT) Team leader, Epidemiologists, Consultant (HR), Microbiologist and Media Scanning Assistant. 

State and District Surveillance Units:

The contractual positions sanctioned for SSU were Consultant (Training), Consultant (Finance & Procurement), Data Manager, Data Entry Operators, Office Assistant and Class IV staff. The contractual positions sanctioned for DSU were Data Manager, Data Entry Operator and Account/Administrative Assistant. In 2008 a total of 766 positions were sanctioned (Epidemiologists, Microbiologists, and Entomologist) to be appointed at state and district headquarters on contractual basis, to strengthen the capacity for implementation of IDSP. During restructuring and extension of project post March 2010, the positions of Accountant/Administrative Assistant at DSUs and Office Assistant at SSUs were discontinued. The position of a Veterinary Consultant has been approved for 12th FY Plan Period at SSU.

The Hon’ble HFM and Senior officers reviewed progress of the project several times and desired improvement.  An important lacuna pointed out in all these reviews was the lack of adequate personnel in the State and District headquarters to ensure all units under IDSP report timely, report factually and the reports are analyzed for suitable action very promptly.  The World Bank too, in its review, identified that the most critical bottlenecks for the programme included lack of dedicated staff for the project and very low capacity especially at district and block levels to analyze and use surveillance data for local decision and outbreak responses.

It was therefore, proposed that Epidemiologists, Microbiologists and Entomologists be appointed at State and District headquarters on contractual basis to strengthen the capacity for implementation of IDSP, so that the system is able to capture changes in disease pattern trend promptly. The 9th Empowered Programme Committee of the NRHM approved the proposal of contractual appointments of 766 positions at State/District levels on 3rd January 2008. The 4th MSG NRHM meeting held on 4th August 2008 finally approved the proposal for contractual appointments of 766 health professionals (Epidemiologists, Microbiologists, and Entomologists) under IDSP.  

Regarding the method of selection a meeting was held under the chairmanship of Joint Secretary (HFW) on 23rd January 2008.  MoU was signed with NHSRC for recruitment of contractual health professionals on 21st August 2008. These positions were advertised by NHSRC in National and Regional newspapers, and interviews for these posts were held from 17th November till 20th December 2008, at various locations including Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Guwahati, Mumbai, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Patna, Jaipur and Delhi.  Out of the 2,999 applications received, 1,394 candidates were short listed for interview.  However, only 1,033 candidates appeared for the interviews at the aforesaid interview locations, of whom 599 candidates were selected

Consequently, NHSRC forwarded the list of 599 selected candidates (491 Epidemiologists, 85 Microbiologists and 23 Entomologists) to IDSP.  After the approval of Secretary (HFW), the list was sent to the Principal Secretary (Health) of concerned States and SSO, IDSP through the Mission Director, NRHM for issuing contract letters to the selected candidates. Further, with restructuring and extension of IDSP by another two years up to March 2012, MOHFW concurred to the proposal of extension of contractual staff under IDSP employed at CSU, SSU and DSU beyond 31st March 2010.

In a major policy shift in May 2010, MoHFW authorized all State Health Societies for recruitment of these contractual professionals. States were also requested to extend the existing contractual engagement subject to their satisfactory performance. The ToRs/guidelines for contractual engagement for these posts were provided by CSU to the States/ UTs.

Total 417 epidemiologists, 126 Microbiologists, 8 Veterinary Consultants, 541 Data Managers, 17 consultant Trainings, 29 Consultant Finances and 25 Entomologists were recruited by States as on April 2016. The eligibility criteria and remuneration of human resources in the States/UTs are reviewed from time to time and necessary changes made as per the need of the hour.

Types of Training under IDSP

1. TOT- Six days TOT program is being designed for health personnel and members of rapid response team. Subjects covered in these training programs are Introduction to surveillance with special reference to IDSP, basic epidemiology, collection and transmission of laboratory specimens and bio-safety issues and details in response to outbreaks. A total of 2956 members of RRTs have been trained till date.

2. FETP- It is a two week long training course designed to train DSOs/ Epidemiologists to enhance their epidemiological skills in outbreak investigations. Though FETP program, total 756 DSOs have been trained throughout the country till April 2016.

3. Other types of training include Induction training of Microbiologists, Entomologists, finance consultant and other support staff under IDSP.

Recent Developments

With the help of expert committee, the “Revised Training Manual for Health Workers”has been prepared and uploaded on IDSP portal in July 2015. Furthermore training manual for Veterinary Consultants under IDSP is developed and will be unveiled during National IDSP review to be held on 09-11 June2 016 at Jaipur, Rajasthan.

TOR of Epidemiologists at CSU has been revised whereas the TOR for Veterinary consultants have been finalized.

Budget of training programs such as FETP and Induction training of Microbiologists have been revised and shared with the training institutes in 2015-16

Training Division at IDSP periodically coordinates with all the states for capacity building of their heath personnel by receiving training loads and organizing training programs.

Routine activities of Training Division-

Training Division at IDSP coordinates development of training curricula in accordance with the IDSP Training Guidelines; review and upgrade training manual/materials.

  • Collate and review training plans submitted by each State & monitor training activities in States
  • Preparation of training load of FETP, TOT and streamlining release of funds for training institutes by reviewing their SOEs and utilization certificate.
  • Periodic compilation and update of State and districtwide HR status.