“The implementation of One Health requires the help of all stakeholders”

NEW DELHI : On November 3, India marked the International One Health Day, which aims to raise awareness of common health threats at the human-animal-environment interface. The idea becomes particularly important after the covid pandemic. The Animal Husbandry and Dairy Department (DAHD) engages with various other departments to combat the growing threat of zoonotic diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans. Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Department, spoke with mint on the One Health approach. Edited excerpts from an interview:

How important is the One Health approach in India?

Post-pandemic India must take a holistic approach to health. With an increased connection between animals and humans, we face threats of zoonotic disease outbreaks that can have a devastating impact on society and the economy. The One Health approach will be essential to address human-animal interactions and their impacts. The implementation of One Health is still in its infancy in India and requires efforts from all stakeholders to strengthen its framework.

How important do you think the One Health approach is to mitigating future pandemics?

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the devastating effects a disease outbreak can have on human life and has raised awareness and accelerated the implementation of One Health in India and globally.

The One Health approach has been recognized and is being implemented to achieve human well-being and for the development of social and environmental ecosystems.

The One Health framework will contribute to the prediction, early detection, prevention, monitoring and control of public health challenges and emergencies and the mitigation of endemic zoonotic infections and epidemics.

How is your department implementing the One Health framework in India?

The One Health framework is implemented with a multi-stakeholder approach, bringing together public and private sector actors. The Indian government is committed to focusing its resources on improving the health and safety of livestock and people. This will be achieved by building and strengthening India’s One Health system, including animal and human disease surveillance; Workforce development; improved laboratory infrastructure; rapid detection, reporting and response to epidemics; biosecurity in animal production systems, and building human capital and community awareness. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent announcement of the establishment of a National One Health Institution under the PM Ayushman program is a step forward in accelerating our efforts.

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