PATNA: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was on Saturday signed between the Department of Health, Government of Bihar and Department of Neurovirology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka with the objective to establishing enhanced surveillance for Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar.
Presently, AES is a major public health concern in Bihar which has been experiencing periodic outbreaks of AES for the past two decades.
To combat this situation, capacity needs to be built for surveillance as well as laboratory testing methods for most common AES pathogens in the state.
Health secretary Sanjay Kumar said under this MoU, the NIMHANS team would support in establishing a tiered network of laboratories to provide much needed diagnostic support for strengthening the surveillance activities of AES, infectious or otherwise, in Bihar.
To ensure readiness for AES, NIMHANS and CARE India will first conduct a gap analysis in the labs of designated hospitals in Bihar and suggest measures for strengthening their surveillance capabilities.
They will also conduct training workshops/ orientations for identified hospitals for (a) doctors to ensure consistency in case identification of suspected patients of AES, (b) doctors, nurses, technicians for standardization in sample collection procedures, (c) laboratory personnel for processing samples as per Good Laboratory Practices and (d) data managers for handling and storage of data.
As part of this non-financial MoU the Department of Health, GoB will provide required administrative support and guidance to the NIMHANS Team for the effective implementation of enhanced surveillance for AES in the state.
Authorities said the health department is determined to improve the quality of health services in the state.