- Dr Harsh Vardhan linked human health with that of animals and environment
- 73% of 177 infections emerging are zoonotic: Dr Harsh Vardhan
- Dr Vardhan announced constitution of a committee for eco-health initiatives
New Delhi: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday (April 12) said that human health cannot be seen in isolation in an era that has increased interaction between humans and animals resulting in a need for ‘One Health’ approach. While releasing the journal of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s ‘One Health’ symposium, Dr Vardhan said that “with increased interaction between humans and animals, human health cannot be seen in isolation”, adding that COVID-19 is more than a reminder to that fact.
“COVID-19 demonstrates the rapid spread of novel pathogens which can have a significant impact on the global economy. Preparedness for, and mitigation of such events require a ‘One Health’ approach,” the minister said.
The present international symposium is focused on ‘one health approach’ which recognises that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment, he said.
“A lot of factors are to be understood as shaping the overall health landscape such as more number of people in closer and regular contact with wild and domestic animals, increase in the human population, human habitation into new geographic areas,” he further said.
Earth has experienced changes in climate and land use with practices like deforestation, intensive farming. Disruptions in environmental habitats can provide new opportunities for diseases to pass to animals. We already know that sixty-four per cent of all infectious diseases that emerged between 1973 and 1994 had aetiology which was zoonotic in nature, Dr Vardhan added.
The Union Health Minister said that among 1,415 diseases that human beings are prone to, 61 per cent is zoonotic and that 73 per cent of 177 infections that are emerging or emerging are also zoonotic.
India is one of four global hotspots where there is a huge risk of emergence of infectious zoonotic diseases, drug resistance and foodborne infections, he warned.
He announced the constitution of a high-level steering committee for eco-health initiatives in India and said that the committee will have its secretariat hosted at the ICMR and will be supported by the upcoming National Institute for One Health.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.