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Public Health England ties up with India on global health issues

City Kemp News

•    A delegation from Public Health England led by its Chief Executive Mr Duncan Selbie has exchanged agreements with world-class  institutions in India.
•    Mr Selbie is accompanied by PHE’s Director of Health & Wellbeing Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Director Dr Rashmi Shukla and Senior Business Development Manager Professor S.S. Vasan.
•    Agreements were ceremonially exchanged in New Delhi with senior representatives of SCTIMST Thiruvananthapuram and RGICD Bengaluru on 20th April. An umbrella MOU was also exchanged by Mr Selbie and AIIMS New Delhi Director Dr M.C. Misra on 21st April.
•    The first training programme on biosafety, emergency preparedness and response was inaugurated on 22nd April in Bengaluru at the PHE-RGICD Collaborating Centre (which Mr Selbie inaugurated in September 2015). Karnataka’s Principal Secretary for Health and Family Welfare (Medical Education) Shri M. Lakshminarayan, IAS, was the Chief Guest for this function. Mr Selbie participated by video from New Delhi.

Public Health England’s Chief Executive Duncan Selbie, in a video message from New Delhi, said: “It is the beginning of the next stage of our collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) in Bengaluru, and other institutions like it with world-class status, on important topics like biosafety and tuberculosis.  It is fabulous to see the first programme getting underway in the PHE-RGICD Collaborating Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response which I inaugurated in September 2015. We hope to share the experiences that we have had from working on Ebola in West Africa.”
PHE’s Senior Business Development Manager Professor S.S. Vasan, who is also the co-investigator of the PHE-RGICD Collaborating Centre, said: “We have exchanged agreements and started joint research activities with three Institutions of National Importance (INIs) such as AIIMS New Delhi, JIPMER Puducherry and SCTIMST Thiruvananthapuram. In addition, we are also working with world-class institutions such as JNCASR and RGICD in Bengaluru, and PHFI and VHAI in New Delhi. Through these tie-ups we jointly hope to address a range of topics including novel compounds to combat anti-microbial resistance, biosafety, Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever vaccine, and rapid diagnostics for tuberculosis.”
Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) Bengaluru Dr Shashidhar Buggi, who is the lead Indian investigator of the emergency preparedness and response project said: “World class infection prevention and control measures are vital to protect both clinical and laboratory staff when dealing with either unknown threat agents or those that are highly transmissible. We believe that our partnership with PHE, which is a pioneer in biosafety and biosecurity, will further strengthen our preparedness and response capabilities. PHE built and commissioned the first BSL4 facilities in the world in 1976, designed the world’s first Class III safety cabinets, and used them to co-discover and characterise the Ebola virus, so their experience and expertise will be highly valued in India.”
Background on the PHE-RGICD Collaborating Centre for Emergency Preparedness & Response:
PHE’s senior business development manager and co-investigator of the emergency preparedness and response collaborating centre, Professor S.S. Vasan said: “When patients and patient samples are handled within the hospital and laboratory environments without initial knowledge of the causative pathogen, it is important to minimise the risk of personal infection to healthcare workers, their colleagues, friends and family members. Our project, funded by the UK Tropical Health & Education Trust and the Department for International Development, will allow PHE to work with RGICD Bengaluru, share experiences and best practices, as well as contribute to classroom and laboratory training to be delivered by our Indian partners.”
RGICD: Set up 70 years ago, the Shantabai Devarao Shivaram Tuberculosis Research Centre and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) is an autonomous institute and a 470 bed super speciality teaching hospital funded by the Government of Karnataka. It is the State Referral Centre for pulmonary and thoracic medicine and was chosen by the Government of Karnataka for isolation, treatment and management of cases during epidemics and pandemics, and has handled the State’s emergency preparedness and response (EPR) for SARS, Avian flu, H1N1, MERS-CoV and Ebola. It also hosts the Bengaluru branch of India’s National Institute of Virology. www.sdstrcrgicd.org
PHE: Public Health England (PHE) is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the UK Department of Health with the mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities. www.gov.uk/phe

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