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SHORT REVIEW
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 109-111

Epidemic diseases act 1897, India: Whether sufficient to address the current challenges?


1 Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research School of Public Health, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Binod K Patro
Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar - 751 019, Odisha
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0971-9903.117796

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In this age of noncommunicable diseases, communicable diseases still contribute 30% of disease burden in India. Hundreds of epidemics occur each year and we fail to respond and contain most of them. Apart from various biological and behavioral public health interventions, we need to closely look at the structural intervention, that is, the legal framework to review health system preparedness. Although India has a number of legal mechanisms to support public health measures in an epidemic situation, they are not being addressed under a single legislation. The Epidemic Act 1897 is a century old blunt act which needs a substantial overhaul to counter the rising burden of infectious diseases both new and old. Issues like definition of epidemic disease, territorial boundaries, ethics and human rights principles, empowerment of officials, punishment, etc., need more deliberations and warrant a relook.


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