THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The need to start a public health wing in the animal husbandry department will be one of the foremost suggestions that the Indian Veterinary Association (IVA) will put forth on World Zoonoses Day. The association, which is batting for the implementation of the World Health Organisation’s ‘One Health’ approach, is planning a day-long discourse on World Zoonoses Day where it will delve into the zoonotic diseases and stress on an interdisciplinary approach to tackle such diseases.
According to Dr V K P Mohan Kumar, IVA state general secretary, setting up a public health wing to address zoonotic diseases is the need of the hour. “A large number of diseases get transmitted to humans from animals. Starting from controlling the quality of the meat being sold to the emerging zoonotic diseases, we need to formulate an approach and strategy. All these reiterate the need to have a public health wing at the department,” says Dr Mohan Kumar.The theme of the day that falls on July 6 is ‘Multiple stakeholder approach to combat zoonoses’. It will be hosted in Thiruvananthapuram.The event will see veterinarians, medical professionals and environmentalists lead discussions on the ways to tackle zoonoses. In the backdrop of the pandemic, meat assumes significance with SARS-CoV-2 causing Covid being attributed to a probable zoonotic origin.,
“As much as 75% of infectious diseases have a zoonotic origin, meaning they evolve from animals. And in the case of Covid too, an animal component has been stressed. Hence, larger and comprehensive efforts need to be put in by bringing in all stakeholders -- from medical professionals to environmentalists -- to tackle the emerging zoonotic diseases. These will be stressed in the meet,” says Dr S Nandakumar, IVA vice-president, South Zone.
Reiterating the need to embrace the ‘One Health’ approach, he says: “Collaboration between all departments is required to address the zoonotic diseases. We have witnessed Nipah and bird flu and, instead of having a reactive approach, we need to plan and have a stronger public health emergency preparedness in place.” A detailed report of the meet and a request to start the public health wing will be submitted to the government after the event.
‘ONE HEALTH’ APPROACH
The World Health Organisation’s ‘One Health’ approach stresses on bringing professionals of varied expertises like public health, animal health and environment together to plan and implement policies for better health. Controlling zoonoses, food safety and addressing antibiotic resistance are some of the aspects that come under the approach.