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India’s 1st City-wide Environmental Surveillance Platform for COVID-19 launched in Bengaluru

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India's First City-wide Environmental Surveillance PlatformKarnataka Government has launched  India’s 1st City-wide Environmental Surveillance Platform named ‘Precision Health Platform’ in Bengaluru. It is a city-wide sewage surveillance system which will help officials track COVID-19 at an early stage and make preparations to face it. The platform is also the 1st of its kind in Asia.

  • Sewage from both sewered and non-sewered waste-water will be tested to identify clusters of new infections (even among asymptomatic individuals) and measure antimicrobial resistance in the population.
  • Based on the analysis of the test results, a technical expert group will provide inputs for policy makers for targeted COVID-19 prevention, care and management services.
  • Partners – United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Skoll Foundation-supported  COVID Action Collaborative (CAC – COVIDAction Collab) will partner with the Karnataka Government for the initiative.
  • The Precision Public Health Surveillance approach has been developed by COVIDActionCollab, which is an India-wide collaborative of over 300 organizations working together to provide COVID-19 relief and recovery services to India’s vulnerable communities.
  • Bengaluru joins countries like the Netherlands, Finland, and Israel which have such surveillance systems in place.

Key Points

i.The system will cover 75% of Bengaluru’s 9 million population by generating around 90 data points per week signalling the emerging COVID-19 clusters or signalling a COVID-19 cluster’s exit from an area.

ii.CAC will support the Karnataka Government by providing training for sanitation workers and lab technicians on collecting and transporting sewage samples to labs for testing; and analysing and safely disposing of them.


Scientists have discovered that waste-water testing can serve as a cost-effective early warning system COVID-19. It has predicted an increase in COVID-19 cases even before the official cases showed a spike.

  • The platform can also be used in future for tracking other pathogens with pandemic potential and measuring antimicrobial resistance in the population.

Recent Related News:

On 4th November 2020, Catalyst Management Services (CMS), a part of Catalysts Group ideated COVIDAction Collab, partnered with USAID to support the COVID-19 response of India. USAID has provided 3 million USD over 2 years to support the COVIDAction Collab partnership.

About United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Administrator – Samantha Power
Headquarters – Washington D.C, USA