Health Minister U.T. Khader is seen inaugurating APCRICON 2014. From left: Dr. Abdul Rahman, President of CVA & APCRI, Dr. Pushpa Sarkar, Director, Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences, Minister U.T. Khader, Dr. B.J. Mahendra, Organising Chairman, Dr. M.K. Sudarshan, Founder President of APCRI and Dr. M. Vinay, Organising Secretary. Photo: Star of Mysore
A notified (or notifiable) disease is any disease that is required by law to be reported to government authorities. If rabies is declared as a notified disease, then it attracts various provisions of the notified disease regulation act which enlists various responsibilities on the part of the individual doctors, health workers and the community medicine people, specific authorities can be held responsible for an outbreak, and there will be more awareness about it. Surveillance data can also be collected and analysed, resulting in better estimates of the number of cases and a more accurate evaluation of the rabies burden in an area. This can then inform decisions on rabies control efforts that can save human lives.
The minister said he intends to declare rabies as a "notified disease" in Karnataka State (in the South of India) and urge the union government to follow suit across India. Dr Abdul Rahman, will meet personally with him soon to pursue this further.
Minister Khader also called for prevention rather than cure and more awareness in schools on the risks of rabies. "Most of the people, especially the children's exposure to dog bites happen in the areas where they have no awareness about the severity of the dog bites and their fatality" he said, adding that awareness among the parents and people to protect their children from unwarranted dog bites will play a great role in reducing the incidents of rabies in the country.
“In case of the occurrence of such diseases, we blame the animals. But we humans are to be blamed because we need to keep our environment clean and healthy” he pointed out and highlighted that citizens, animal lovers and NGOs need to take a pro-active role in rabies control instead of holding government responsible for everything. Minister Khader said that India can be rabies free if all join hands and work together. "It is a preventable disease. Conferences like this should come out with suggestions and recommendations on eradicating rabies," he stated.
GARC and CVA had earlier initiated a project on Rabies being a notifiable disease in India by writing to all members of the Indian Parliament Though there was a sympathetic response the then Union Minister of Health had replied that Rabies was a reportable disease which is not the same . Efforts were on at every Rabies forum to pursue this and this is the first time that a commitment has been given by a Health Minister of any state in India.
APCRI,CVA and GARC India will follow this up with the Government of Karnataka through Minister Khader and if it is made notifiable in Karnataka then it will be easy to cite the example and make it notifiable in other states of India and thus make India a country where Rabies will be notifiable law.
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