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Unique Methods of Management and Treatment of Inherited Disorders

Written by - Akshatha Sajumon

February 10, 2022 5 minutes

In India, congenital and hereditary genetic illnesses are becoming a significant health concern, necessitating comprehensive and effective genetic testing and counseling services. Congenital deformities and genetic diseases are the third leading cause of neonatal death in India’s cities. India has a high frequency of genetic abnormalities due to its enormous population, rapid birth rate, and the preference for consanguineous marriage in many communities.

UMMID is a Ministry of Science and Technology program led by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to raise awareness about genetic disorders among physicians and promote molecular diagnostics in hospitals for the benefit of Indian patients. The entire project is based on the principle that “Prevention is Better than Cure.”

The goal of the UMMID effort is to connect India’s established medical genetics centers with newer centers and build clinical genetics facilities in district hospitals. This will improve patient care for genetic illnesses and provide medical students with the most up-to-date medical genetics education, preparing them for the era of molecular medicine.

UMMID provides training and diagnostic services.

UMMID intends to function at three levels of medical care, all of which will be closely linked through training and the provision of diagnostic services. The three UMMID components are listed below.

Fellowship in Genetic Diagnostics: Eight departments with state-of-the-art DNA-based diagnostic facilities for genetic illnesses will provide six months of hands-on training to doctors working in government hospitals. Over three years, each center will train four fellows per year, totaling 96 trained doctors in genetic diagnostics.

NIDAN Kendras (Diagnostic Centres): Hospitals with interested doctors, committed administrators, and basic infrastructure was chosen and supported open genetic laboratories. The financial assistance and twinning with the reputed Medical Genetics firms will help the students create the best of molecular diagnostics opportunities.

Prevention of Genetic Illnesses in Aspirational Districts: Each of the seven genetic training centers has chosen an aspirational district to work with and will develop a program to prevent genetic disorders such as beta-thalassemia and newborn screening for treatable conditions. This will be a pilot program for an outreach initiative that will provide the most up-to-date genetic diagnostics to the public and pave the road for genetic services in maternity and child care.

List of Training Centres

  • Department of Medical Genetics, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Raibarelly Road, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
  • Division of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS),  New Delhi
  • Genetics Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), New Delhi
  • Department of Clinical Genetics, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, Tamil Nadu
  • Centre for Genetic Studies and Research, The Madras Medical Mission, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  • Diagnostics Division, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad, Telangana
  • Department of Haematology, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, Tamil Nadu
  • ICMR‐National Institute of Immunohaematology (NIIH), KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai

List of NIDAN Kendras

  • Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), Delhi
  • Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Hyderabad, Telangana
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Jodhpur
  • Army Hospital Research & Referral, Delhi
  • Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata
  • Expected outcomes of UMMID

Develop skilled workforce in the cutting-edge domain of genomic technologies to contribute to patient care services for genetic illnesses, which account for 80 percent of rare conditions.

Establish genetic diagnostic centers throughout the country that will provide patient care and strengthen the component of medical genetics training in medical school and prepare medical doctors for the era of molecular medicine.

Increase public awareness of genetic illnesses among physicians and laypeople so that patients and families can receive the proper diagnosis, care, and prevention services from the government (Beneficiaries – 70000 pregnant women & 35000 newborn babies per year)

Diagnostic facilities for uncommon genetic illnesses, pharmacogenetics, prenatal diagnosis, and population-based screening for prevention will be expanded by UMMID.

Genomic technology will aid research into the genetics of both rare and prevalent genetic illnesses.

More about UMMID

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, and Health and Family Welfare, today launched the UMMID (Unique Methods of Management and Treatment of Inherited Disorders) initiative and inaugurated NIDAN (National Inherited Diseases Administration) Kendras, which are funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology. The Minister for Science and Technology, speaking on occasion in New Delhi, drew attention to the issue of guaranteeing good treatment for children and raising public awareness and urged everyone to put more effort into finding answers.

Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT, further mentioned how UMMID is a game-changing effort in the healthcare industry. Given the fact that congenital and hereditary genetic illnesses are becoming a significant public health concern in India and the necessity for adequate and effective genetic testing and counseling services. DBT has launched the UMMID Initiative based on the philosophy that “prevention is better than cure.” Congenital deformities and genetic diseases are the third leading cause of neonatal death in India’s cities.

In the next phase of this UMMID initiative, the department plans to expand the program by establishing more Nidan Kendras in other parts of the country, training more clinicians in clinical genetics, and covering more aspirational districts for screening pregnant women and newborn babies for inherited genetic diseases to provide comprehensive clinical care.

The Indian government has released the National Health Policy, 2017, which aims to shift the focus away from “sick-care” and toward “wellness.” The UMMID project aims to promote wellbeing through boosting genetic disease prevention.

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