Integrated Disease Surveillance Prog

Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme is a scheme of disease surveillance under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India and is assisted by the World Bank. It basically revolves round the idea that different diseases may have specialized surveillance needs and looks at surveillance as a common service. It, in short, encompasses activities such as Data collection, Data analysis and reporting, training and supervision, strengthening laboratory facilities and resource management. It is an integrated approach to communicable disease surveillance. A specialized team known as Rapid Response Team (RRT) deals with detection of the disease as well as suggests a response.
The system works through surveillance units, being its basic infrastructure.  The RRT becomes active, should there be any impending rising trends of particular illness, and the data thereof is monitored and investigated to find a response in time. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) in Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2007 . The idea was to detect early warning signals of any out breaking of a disease so that an effective response could be built to contain it. It is a matter of concern that this system of much hype is now on artificial bolsters in Jammu and is in fits and starts condition.
The surveillance units have been established at State and district levels and each unit expected to perform integrated functions. Accordingly, these units were established in all the six old districts of Jammu division like Doda, Jammu, Kathua, Poonch, Rajouri and Udhampur besides at Government Hospital Gandhi Nagar and Government Medical College Jammu . Their establishment was extended to newly created districts of Kishtwar, Reasi, Ramban and Samba. The Surveillance Units comprised three contractual posts of Epidemiologist, Data Manager and Data Entry Operator duly approved by Government of India.
Can it be believed that out of the ten districts, only Kathua district unit has all the three posts manned by the required personnel as compared to other districts where the position is in a shambles since there is no manpower to run the units. The cut – paste or patch working approach just to drag on like situation, prevails in other units.  This speaks of how the most sensitive Medical Department is run in our state. The position is so precarious in the management of things that the unit of Samba is just run by Data Entry Operator as if making entries and collecting information was going to be a substitute of a full fledged response which  otherwise is the aim of the Programme.
The matter does not end here. A responsible administration must own up the lapses and account for its occurrence but it appears it is no one’s baby and only passing bucks from one authority to the other, appears to be the ugly face of the concept of accountability. Why is there shortage of manpower , the replies sought land at beating around the bush with no clear cut reason and had the problem been there confined to one or two units on temporary basis only, one could derive satisfaction that other units were running nicely but it is one against all others . In other words, only Kathua unit is operational.
We urge the authorities concerned not to resort to the cover of alibis in such matters and apart from explaining the reasons of a total void of man power in almost all units, why even important equipments needed for the labs could not be procured so far even though Government of India had sanctioned funds in the year 2016-17?  Can we expect a turnaround, a total commitment like approach in the instant matter to put the units on firm rails ?