New Delhi: To adopt and implement the best practices available worldwide for animal health management in India and strengthen the country’s ‘One Health’ programme, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has granted $82 million. Besides prevention, the grant has also been allocated for the detection and response to endemic zoonotic, transboundary, and emerging infectious diseases.
India’s One Health programme recognises that people and animals are connected with their shared environment. This programme envisages carrying out surveillance of important bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections of zoonotic as well as transboundary pathogens in India, including the north-eastern part of the country.
According to the government, zoonotic diseases (infectious diseases that are transmitted between species from animals to humans) have devastating impacts on animals, humans, health systems, and economies, requiring years of social and economic recovery.
India has the largest livestock population in the world, which leads to a higher probability of the spread of such diseases. For example, foot and mouth disease alone costs the country more than $3.3 billion annually, according to the World Bank.
To increase the quality and coverage of animal health services for livestock farmers in the country, a new programme has been launched, called ‘The Animal Health System Support for One Health Programme,’. Funded by the World Bank, the programme is to support India’s Livestock Health and Disease Control Programme and seek to control animal diseases and zoonoses.
Talking about the development, Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India, said that the new programme will help reduce the risks of animal disease outbreaks by improving disease surveillance and veterinary services in the livestock and wildlife sectors.
At least 2.9 million livestock farmers will have increased access to improved animal health services in the participating states of Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh.
The programme will also strengthen collaboration and data sharing with the human health sector and enhance food quality and safety in animal products, especially in livestock and wet markets, according to the official statement.
The Task Team Leaders for the programme, Hikuepi Katjiuongua, Adarsh Kumar, and Anupam Joshi, informed that nearly 68 percent of the workforce in India is dependent on farming and remains in close contact with domestic animals and poultry, and therefore, the people associated with the farming practises are vulnerable to zoonotic infections.
Mr. Katjiuongua further said,
By supporting evidence-based policies on animal disease and zoonoses management, the programme will address food safety in livestock value chains.
Animal disease outbreaks globally have been continuously posing risks to public health systems and have enormous economic costs. With the grant, the World Bank aims to work with the central government to put an end to it.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. 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 will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.