The Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), which has joined hands with National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, for studying high incidence of renal failure in Baramba-Narasinghpur area of Cuttack is ready with the protocol for a three-year investigation project.
The protocol will be presented to the Cuttack Collector shortly so that the research project could be taken forward, RMRC Director Dr SK Kar said on the sidelines of the ICMR Tribal Health Research Forum meet on ‘International Day of World’s Indigenous People’.
Since the project would necessitate an array of samples to be collected, the RMRC is keen on taking support from the State. High level of mercury causes kidney poisoning and the research project will trace the source as well as the exact reasons.
In the first phase of investigation, Kar said, mercury was not found in the water samples which indicated that it could be present in food intakes. “We need to look at prevalence of local and traditional medicines as well as alcohol-based drinks to arrive at the mercury residue. For all this, we will need support of State Government agencies,” he added.
In its preliminary report, the RMRC had not found any substantive cause behind the phenomenon although the investigations had revealed high urea and creatinine levels in 68.2 per cent of symptomatic cases and 37.1 per cent asymptomatic individuals.
It was also supported by albuminuria in 33.3 per cent cases. The epidemiological investigation was conducted in three villages with a population of 1,699. About 33 cases of renal failure were detected while these three villages accounted for 30 deaths.
Earlier in the day, Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout inaugurated the meet on tribal health research and urged the ICMR to open two more research centres in the State in view of the public health disorder scenario. Currently, there are two in Rayagada and Bhawanipatna.
Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya said, the RMRC had been collaborating with the State in a big way and did extensive work during outbreak of diarrhoea. He promised all help in case the RMRC extends its support in the future in building more such centres.
ICMR Director-General VM Katoch called for action research which he said could benefit people lest important research could become limited to the domains of laboratories. He also emphasised the need to preserve the ethnic medicine system which is part of the tribal culture.
SC and ST Development Department Secretary Santosh Sarangi also spoke.