The infant mortality rate in Gujarat is 33. But the State must aim to bring it down to less than 10, said Dr Gaurav Dahiya, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Government of Gujarat, while speaking recently at the Elets National Food and Pharma Summit in Ahmedabad.

“Food and drugs industry is extremely important for the country. For example, in terms of maternal mortality rate, Gujarat is among the top 10 states in India. But we must aim to achieve a mortality rate of less than 10, which is the rate in Scandinavian countries. To reach that level, food and drug industry will play a major role,” Dr Dahiya said.

Dr Gaurav DahiyaThe infant mortality rate in Gujarat is 33. The State is also facing a huge disease burden of tuberculosis, non-communicable and comunicable diseases, according to the Mission Director of National Health Mission, Gujarat.

“In controling the lifestyle linked disorder, the food and pharma industry has a big role to play. Especially, the food quality needs to be checked. Gastrointestinal diseases like acute diaorreahl diseases, cholera, typhoid, bacillary dysentery and hapatitis A and E are directly linked to the food industry,” he said.

Dr Dahiya also suggested that the pharma industry can play a major role in making the duration of treatment shorter for a person suffering from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. “In antitubercular therapy, the treatment takes too long,” he said.

“There are many diseases like influenza and swine flu. We can new inventions and R&D has to be promoted because virus changes with time. For example, in influenza virus there is anti-genic drift and anti-genic shift. If the genotype of the virus changes slightly then there is anti-genic drift and if the genotype of the virus changes totally then there is anti-genic shift. So, the virus is changing constantly and the anti-viral drug that is affecting the virus has to change accordingly. Likewise, to fight against microbial organisms like bacteria, virus, protozoa these need to be monitored by the pharma industry with the support of R&D,” he added.

He also pointed out the challenges posed by anaemia. “The anaemia incidents in the country is very high,” Dr Dahiya said, as he called for a focused approach to lessen the disease burden across the country.

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