Kerala plans health research institute

The State government plans to set up a health research institute at Mananthavady in Wayanad in collaboration with the Sydney Carmel Cancer Centre under the Thomas Jefferson University.

A press note from Health Minister K.K. Shylaja’s office here on Saturday said the Minister had held discussions with Professor Gace Yavo of the Sydney Carmel Cancer Centre with assistance from M.V. Pillai, Kerala-born medical oncologist currently based in the U.S.

The institute would also focus on sickle cell anaemia, which is seen primarily among the tribespeople in the State.

The discussions were of an exploratory nature and would be taken forward based on a special project report, the press note said.

The press note quoted the Health Minister as saying that the experts from various prestigious institutions had expressed readiness to cooperate with the State to set up a major research facility in Kerala.

She briefed them about the various initiatives launched by the State government in association with the World Health Organization (WHO) to address the various health challenges faced by the State.

Reception

Earlier, at a reception for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Health Minister held at the Institute of Human Virology of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, institute co-founder and director Robert Gallo congratulated the government and the people of Kerala for the State’s success in containing the recent Nipah virus outbreak in Kozhikode-Malappuram districts.

Prof. Gallo presented the Chief Minister and Ms. Shylaja with a memento at the function.

Responding to the felicitation, the Chief Minister said Kerala was keen about cooperating with the Institute of Human Virology on mutually beneficial research programmes. Kerala was planning to set up an international centre for research in Ayurveda to separate the chemical compounds in the herbal preparations for their scientific standardisation.

Kerala’s achievements in health care is because of the State’s strong public health infrastructure.

However, the State was faced with new health challenges owing to changes in lifestyle and food habits, Mr. Vijayan pointed out.

Matter of pride

The Chief Minister said it was a matter of pride for the State that it could identify the Nipah virus from the second patient.

Once the presence of the virus was confirmed, the entire public healthcare system swung into action.

Around 2,000 persons were placed under surveillance and cared for.

The collective effort had helped keep mortality down, he said.

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