Govt and WOAH Collaborate to Strengthen One Health Approach for Pandemic Preparedness

Govt and WOAH Collaborate to Strengthen One Health Approach for Pandemic Preparedness

In a world where the health of wildlife, domestic animals, and humans is inextricably linked, the “One Health” strategy of collaboration and coordination is critical for a sustainable future.

The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India, collaborated with the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) to organize a groundbreaking workshop to strengthen pandemic preparedness and reinforce the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health.

The event, titled “Risk-based management of spill over events in wildlife in India,” took place from September 11th to September 12th, 2023, at the Radisson Hyderabad Hitec City. Dr. Abhijit Mitra, the Animal Husbandry Commissioner, and Dr. Hirofumi Kugita, the WOAH Regional Representative for Asia Pacific, attended the workshop’s opening ceremony.

In addition, 13 specialists from the ICAR-National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics (NIVEDI) and the Centre for Wildlife IVRI attended the event, as did observers from WHO, FAO, USAID Rise, and the One Health Support Unit (OHSU).

The workshop’s primary goals were fourfold: to improve stakeholders’ understanding of disease risk analysis originating in wildlife, to conduct a comprehensive gap analysis of India’s risk assessment and management, to simulate disease spillover scenarios, and to promote communication and awareness among relevant stakeholders. The training included seven sessions, two of which were dedicated to risk analysis simulations – one for a fictional disease called “Disease X” and another adapted specifically to India’s unique circumstances.

The workshop concluded with intense talks about the next steps, with a strong emphasis on cross-sectoral collaboration and the adoption of a One Health strategy. The overarching goal is to ensure a more secure and sustainable future for animals, ecosystems, and human and domestic animal health.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of such joint initiatives, emphasizing the need for countries and regions to strengthen their readiness in the face of future pandemics.

To address these important challenges, WOAH is actively involved in collaborative efforts with major partners in the Quadripartite, which includes the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

WOAH and the Government of India’s collaborative efforts in arranging this workshop demonstrate their unwavering commitment to creating a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future for all.

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