August 17, 2007

Tracking diseases through technology

The TAMIL NADU State Government’s ambitious project of utilising online technology for disease surveillance at grassroots level took shape on Thursday with health authorities at the district level starting to feed data into a specially created website.

An online reporting format has been devised to throw light on the pattern of occurrence of communicable diseases, including vector borne, to create a database for State-level health planners to take steps for prevention and control.

“From today, data will be updated on a daily basis under the Effective Disease Surveillance Information System (EDSIS),” R. Varadaraj, Madurai District Malaria Officer, said at a demonstration held for medical officers.

The system functions under the aegis of Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, generating data from primary health centres, urban dispensaries, health posts, taluk hospitals, district headquarters hospitals and Government/private medical college hospitals.

According to A. Palanichamy, Deputy Director of Health Services, the district health authorities have been asked to get data from the ‘points of origin’ such as paediatric wards, casualty, male/female out-patient and in-patient wings, covering private hospitals.

“Documentation of patient details and diseases is deficient to an extent right now. Amalgamation of reports at the State-level is tough without a proper database,” a DPH note sent to districts said.

If an online mechanism is in place, the surveillance of 14 ‘notified diseases,’ including malaria, dengue, chikungunya, leptospirosis, measles and typhoid, will become easy.

Block Medical Officers will receive reports from PHCs and arrange for transmitting data by 11a.m. the following day on


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