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Hospital-based Surveillance On Stds For Policy Intervention

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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) plans to set up a hospital-based surveillance network to collect data on sexually transmitted infections (STI), document patterns and analyse trends.

The move will help experts to formulate patient management policies, diagnostic protocols, and develop a public health policy to address concerns over STIs, according to ICMR. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also set a target to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases by 90% by 2030.

A team of experts will study the antimicrobial resistance patterns (AMR) among people suffering from STIs for three years, which will serve as a platform for additional clinical research and advanced artificial intelligence (AI)-based studies across medical colleges in India, according to the ICMR.

There is a global resurgence of STIs with an incremental rate of more than 1 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia infections in both high-income and low-income countries, according to WHO.

“Though STI cases are widely evidenced in India, systematic epidemiological studies to determine the exact prevalence are yet not available,” Dr Lokesh Sharma, senior scientist, ICMR, said in an interview.

“There is an utmost need for data on clinical signs, symptoms, laboratory investigations, management protocols, the clinical course of STI disease, disease spectrum, and outcomes of patients. The data will serve as an invaluable tool in predicting the burden of the disease existing in our society. Once we receive applications from medical institutes, ICMR will conduct reviews on a competitive basis by a panel of experts,” Sharma informed.

Hospitals will be selected from all regions, including the east, west, north, south, north east, and central, to ensure adequate representation of all the zones. Institutions having facilities for diagnosis and treatment of STI patients will be eligible to participate in the study.

“The institute must have qualified doctors, microbiologists, and technicians specialized in STIs, have the facility of RT PCR, the infrastructure of performing anti-microbial resistance study,” said Dr Sharma.

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