CoNE’s testing model amongst four best innovations selected by WHO

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IMPHAL, March 17: The Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) has been selected as one of the four finalists in the global innovation testing contest conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Geneva and Social Entrepreneurship for Sexual Health (SESH) Global.

Speaking to media persons during a press meet held at Manipur Press Club today, Rajkumar Nalinikanta, CoNE’s president divulged that the ‘innovative testing’ was a field work conducted by CoNE to gather data on the prevalence of Hepatitis in the state.

He further revealed that the field work was a joint initiative comprising of various stake holders including the health department to actually understand the burden of disease for advocacy purpose now being recognised as one of the innovative testing model.

“This recognition is a big achievement for CoNE as well as for the state. It was no more than a field work when we started out and never dreamt to be part of WHO’s initiative”, he said.

According to him CoNE’s hepatitis C testing model was based on the experience of working with the department of Health, Government of Manipur, Community groups, pharma company providing the testing kits and liver disease staging while Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), provided the viral load PCR confirmatory test.

The campaign which started from November 10, 2014 lasted for over a month and have successfully tested altogether 1011 samples (blood samples) from nine districts of which 494 was found positive and 33 individuals have started Hep-C medication.

Spelling out that the purpose of the contest was to identity innovative and effective examples of delivering hepatitis B and C testing models around the world, he asserted that CoNE’s submission was scored by 17 judges and selected as one of the top 4 submission globally.

As a result, CoNE’s president Rajkumar Nalinikanta, has been invited to present the testing model during the upcoming International Liver Congress organised by the European Association for the study of Liver to be held in Barcelona, Spain from April 12 to 17.

Nalikanta luaded the department of Health, Government of Manipur, especially Dr Kh Sasheekumar Mangang, state Epidemiologist and his team for all their help in the process of the testing campaign. He further thanked to the community groups, who helped in motivating the people to undertake the testing and seek treatment, if they needed it and district hospital authorities. At the same time, the companies and ICMR for providing the much needed kits and diagnostics, he added.

According to Dr Sasheekumar Mangang, State Epidemiologist, Government of Manipur when a public health challenge such as HCV epidemic is to be met in a resource limited situation, we must dismantle traditional compartment surrounding our resources centres, allow them to supplement and complement each other for resource pooling.

Such resource pooling is the most efficient and effective way to achieve greater public good, he said adding that CoNE has shown the way to innovation.

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