Ganga Prasad, Governor of Sikkim and Chancellor, SMU inaugurated the 'state of the art' Molecular Laboratory at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS), under Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) earlier this week.
The inauguration, held through virtual mode adhering to COVID19 pandemic guidelines, was also attended by Prem Singh Tamang, Chief Minister of Sikkim as the chief guest and Dr MK Sharma, minister of health, Government of Sikkim as the guest of honour.
The molecular laboratory at SMIMS in the department of microbiology meets the criteria of biosafety level II laboratory confirming to ISO 15189:2012 standards. The molecular laboratory has the facility for molecular diagnosis by RT-PCR open system and CBNAAT. This molecular laboratory will contribute to the COVID19 anti-efforts of the state and the region.
The Molecular Laboratory has been accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) for molecular testing for RNA viruses. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on 25 November 2020 accorded permission to the molecular laboratory to initiate COVID19 testing using RT-PCR. The Molecular Laboratory is also competent for HIV and HCV testing, besides SARSCoV-2.
The Molecular Laboratory has been accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) for molecular testing for RNA viruses.The Governor, in his address congratulated SMIMS, SMU for this achievement. "Whenever an outbreak of communicable diseases spreads, the ideal response from public health officials should be to start testing the affected people at the earliest. This helps in timely identification of affected patients, preventing the spread of infection and prompt treatment of those affected. Timely testing is also helpful in immediate treatment of an infected person. Today, as we are caught by the COVID19 pandemic, disease testing is an essential and critical part of public health management. Due to various reasons, the lack of proper testing, which deals with the most important supply chain related topics, creates the possibility of spreading the virus at the community level.
Needless to say amidst the numerous challenges, clinical laboratories have a significant role in the current COVID19 pandemic. I am happy that the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences took up the responsibility of setting up a molecular laboratory to meet the current demands for robust testing facilities," he said.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang in his address, called the Molecular Laboratory as the 'need of the hour'. He acknowledged the efforts of SMU, SMIMS and Central Referral Hospital (CRH) to establish the laboratory for testing of RTPCR and CBNAT samples during this COVID pandemic. He added that augmented testing will enable the state government to obtain a realistic perspective of the disease in the community.
"Health care delivery in Sikkim has moved from an era where we had basic facilities to the state-of-the-art specialised healthcare services with high end technology and equipment. Our government has changed the face of healthcare delivery and taken it to very high standards. Today we are a state where health services are both accessible and affordable to every citizen. Accessibility by way of health facilities with essential services, under a medical doctor in every PHC, CHC and UHC and affordability through MMJRK, PMJAY SMSS and other schemes, which have proven to be a boon to the people of Sikkim," Tamang said.