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Pradeep Pattanayak

At a time when the government is claiming that the preparation is in place to face Monkeypox-related situations, the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) in Bhubaneswar doesn’t have a facility to carry out sample test of suspected persons. 

State Public Health Director Dr Niranjan Mishra on Wednesday said, “As you know, eight cases of Monkeypox and one death have so far been detected in the country.  But not a single case has so far been detected in our state. But we have had all the preparations recommended by the WHO in place. We have also taken steps as per the directions of the central government,” said Dr Mishra. 

“The district-level surveillance units have been directed to step up surveillance. Guidelines have also been issued on how samples should be collected and sent. The samples will be sent to the RMRC,” said Dr Mishra. 

“Since the RMRC doesn’t have the facility to carry out tests for Monkeypox, it would send the samples received to the nearby testing centres,” said Dr Mishra. 

“However, the Health Minister has written to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), asking for facilities at the RMRC, Bhubaneswar to carry out tests,” Dr Mishra added. 

He also informed that since gay sex is linked to Monkeypox, the integrated counselling and testing centres (ICTC) under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) have also been roped in. 

Notably, Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das had on July 31 said “We are trying to make the testing facilities available in Bhubaneswar. We have requested the Centre to provide kits.”

“In Odisha, it can be done at ICMR (RMRC) but for that, we need to get permission from the Centre. If kits are provided, Monkeypox samples can be tested in Bhubaneswar,” he had said adding that the Union Health Ministry has notified 15 places in the country for Monkeypox testing.
 

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