Inter-sectoral coordination among public health and veterinary services mooted
Public health and wildlife experts have advocated the adoption of the One Health approach for policy formulation in the country. The concept which has been gaining traction among policy makers worldwide was key to the ongoing efforts in the prevention of zoonoses, they felt.
Parag Nigam, Head, Wildlife Health Management, Wildlife Institute of India, who participated in the World Zoonoses Day observance here, called for inter-sectoral coordination among public health and veterinary services to deliver human and animal health interventions in rural areas.
Proposing a shift from the classic approach to disease control, he also urged public health officials to think in terms of ecosystems that involved people, livestock, wildlife and natural communities.
Speaking on how environment was a critical element for disease emergency, Dr. Nigam said that overpopulation in relation to environmental resources has remained a pressing problem in many developing nations. Habitat alterations due to unplanned urbanisation has placed humans at increasing contact with animal and arthropod vectors of viral infections. Poor living conditions and inadequate health systems have also contributed to the scenario, he said.
S.V.S. Mallik, principal scientist and head, Veterinary Public Health, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, said 868 (or 61%) of the known human pathogens were zoonotic in nature. Besides, 75% of emerging infectious diseases among humans including Ebola, HIV and influenza have an animal origin.
According to him, pathogen transfer from wild species appears to be particularly prevalent, despite contact between humans and wildlife being rarer than with domestic animals. The important drivers of zoonoses included deforestation or land use change in forested areas, loss of wildlife biodiversity, dense human populations, and human-wildlife interactions.
“The emergence of SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and SARS-CoV-2 have compelled mankind to introspect its approach on emerging zoonotic diseases from the perspective of One Health,” he said.
Public health expert B. Ekbal and Biju Soman, Professor and Associate Dean (Health Sciences), Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, also spoke during various technical sessions that were organised by the Indian Veterinary Association Kerala as part of the observance.
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