NIMHANS will be a part of an international project, ‘Brain Infections Global’, funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), Liverpool, U.K. The other collaborating centre in India is Christian Medical College, Vellore. Two other nations – Malawi in Africa and Brazil in South America – are also participating.
V. Ravi, retired professor of neuro virology, NIMHANS, told reporters on Monday that the project aims to establish a standard care package for improving diagnosis and early hospital management of patients with suspected acute brain infections. A press release stated that a standard care package will be developed to improve the early diagnosis and management in Acute Brain Infections. It is envisaged that this ‘model’ programme on brain infection management will pave the way for such programmes being implemented in other States as well.
Every year, February 22 is observed as World Encephalitis Day to create awareness for people who have been directly or indirectly affected by encephalitis. The theme this year was ‘Light up a local landmark’. Prominent landmarks, including Vidhana Soudha, Arogya Soudha and NIMHANS, were lit up in red.
Every year, thousands of cases are reported from 17 States to the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP) in India. It is known that there is one death for every 250 cases of brain infections in the country. During 2018, 10,485 AES cases and 632 deaths were reported. AES cases were reported mainly from Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh. As per conservative estimates, 50,000 to 1,75,0004 cases are reported every year with 10,000 to 15,000 deaths annually.
Inaugurating the programme, Minister for Health and Medical Education K. Sudhakar said: “As we are struggling to combat communicable diseases over the past year, we also need to take a serious note and address diseases like encephalitis. India is among the countries where thousands have succumbed to this disease. .”
He also said with citizens from across the country coming to NIMHANS, he had urged Union Finance Minister to establish sub-centres in two more regions of Karnataka.