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One Health: K'taka to lead national effort to track zoonotic diseases

Launching the pilot project, secretary of the Union Ministry of Fisheries Atul Chaturvedi said the programme will improve the health of livestock as well as wildlife
Last Updated : 28 June 2022, 23:31 IST
Last Updated : 28 June 2022, 23:31 IST
Last Updated : 28 June 2022, 23:31 IST
Last Updated : 28 June 2022, 23:31 IST

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Karnataka, along with Uttarakhand, will soon become a torchbearer for other states in establishing a system to check the spread of viruses from animals, with the launch of an integrated effort that seeks to track emerging diseases of zoonotic origin.

The programme is the result of an MoU signed by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in September 2021. The department's premises in Bengaluru will be the hub of the 'One Health' initiative, steered by an expert panel in the World Health Organisation (WHO) and supported by global organisations.

Launching the pilot project, secretary of the Union Ministry of Fisheries Atul Chaturvedi said the programme will improve the health of livestock as well as wildlife, leading to better human health and an overall improvement in the environment. "This will be made possible by improving disease diagnosis and surveillance, digitising the data collection and sharing mechanism."

Potential threats

Considering human, animal and environmental health from the perspective of interconnectivity and interdependence, the initiative will help check potential threats at the human-animal-environment interface while protecting biodiversity.

Chaturvedi said the initiative will also enable seamless flow of information between the experts and members of the community, which will in turn improve surveillance. "The pilot in Karnataka will form the basis for developing the One Health Framework for India. India is the first in the world to try and adapt this approach," he said.

Officials said coordination between various players and sectors was a key objective of the programme which will integrate the laboratories into a network and ensure sharing of data on disease outbreaks.

"The project aims to support the development of a targeted surveillance plan and integrate data with the digital architecture of the National Digital Livestock Mission," Chaturvedi added.

'Better infrastructure'

Dr Sindura Ganapathi, visiting Fellow at the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, said, people understand that animal health was as important as human health post-pandemic. "Resources are spent in each of the domains for building laboratories and other equipment. The best use of these resources can be made possible by One Health, where all departments could benefit from the better infrastructure this project could bring in," he said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vijaykumar Gogi said the initiative will help protect wildlife, including the endangered species. "If a wild animal becomes extinct, the diseases that belong to that species will cling on to domestic species and further end up clinging to the human species," he said.

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Published 28 June 2022, 16:37 IST

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