Cabinet clears laboratory network for epidemics, calamities

New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) The union cabinet Thursday approved a three-tier network of laboratories across the country for managing epidemics and natural calamities, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Friday.

According to the finance minister, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the proposal of the health ministry to set up 10 regional laboratories, 30 state-level laboratories and 120 medical college-level labs for establishing a network to manage epidemics and natural calamities.

“This will greatly help in building capacity for handling viral diseases in terms of early and timely diagnosis, development of tools to predict viral disease outbreaks beforehand, continuous monitoring and surveillance of existing as well as new viral strains and handling viruses with a potential to be used as agents of bio-terrorism,” Chidambaram said.

The move will also help in smooth data flow from across sites of epidemics, creation of efficient knowledge management networks for policy interventions such as quick deployment of resources and measures like introduction of preventive strategies and new vaccines, he said.

The scheme will cost Rs.646.83 crore till 2016-17.

The expenditure would be shared between the central and state governments in the ratio of 75:25 in plains and 90:10 in northeastern hill states, including Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir.

Expenditure on the regional labs would be fully borne by the central government.

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