A month after Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan asked the Delhi government to make malaria and dengue notifiable diseases, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has initiated the work to notify malaria in the capital.
What is a notifiable disease?
A notifiable disease is any disease that is required by law to be reported to government authorities. The collation of information allows the authorities to monitor the disease, and provides early warning of possible outbreaks. The World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations, 1969 require disease reporting to the WHO in order to help with its global surveillance and advisory role.
Making a disease legally notifiable by doctors and health professionals allows for intervention to control the spread of highly infectious diseases. Registered medical practitioners need to notify such diseases in a proper form within three days, or notify verbally via phone within 24 hours depending on the urgency of the situation. This means every government hospital, private hospital, laboratories, and clinics will have to report cases of the disease to the government.
The process helps the government keep track and formulate a plan for elimination and control. In less infectious conditions, it improves information about the burden and distribution of disease.
Which disease fall in this category?
The Centre has notified several diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, encephalitis, leprosy, meningitis, pertussis (whooping cough), plague, tuberculosis, AIDS, hepatitis, measles, yellow fever, malaria dengue, etc. The onus of notifying any disease and the implementation lies with the state government.
Any failure to report a notifiable disease is a criminal offence and the state government can take necessary actions against defaulters.