One Health Program—South Asia

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Massey University is implementing a two-phase program to build epidemiology and biosecurity capacity within a One Health framework in seven countries in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal,Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The SAR Program is funded by the European Commission through the Avian and Human Influenza Trust Fund administered by the World Bank. The beneficiary countries are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

  • Phase 1 delivered a formal Masters degree training program in epidemiology and biosecurity to seventy medical doctors and veterinarians from June 2010 to September 2011.
  • Phase 2 will further develop in-country and regional capacity in epidemiology and biosecurity by strengthening national institutions that are directly or indirectly responsible for diagnosis, preparedness, response, prevention and control of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and other zoonoses in each country. The One Health concept will be operationalised by multi-disciplinary teams operating within which One Health Hubs will act as Centres of Excellence in epidemiology and biosecurity through collaborative investigations of priority zoonoses and specialised training.

Phase 1 and Phase 2 are integrated to create a seamless transition from the degree training program into broader operational work that will extend involvement and training in One Health activities to a wider network of professional and scientific personnel in the participating countries and throughout the South Asia Region. This will broaden capacity and contribute to establishing sustainable One Health activities and build momentum of the One Health agenda in the region.

Consultants from leading institutions around the world including Massey University will be engaged to ensure the participating countries fully benefit from world-wide expertise, have access to the best scientific knowledge and information available, and develop relationships for the future with leading international experts and institutions globally. Effective liaison with other national and international agencies involved in One Health activities in the region will also provide valuable context and opportunities for professional networking and additional collaboration, contributing to the effectiveness and sustainability of the One Health Hubs. Wherever possible, activities delivered under this project will be designed to complement ongoing or completed Bank IDA and/or AHIF financed Avian and Human Influenza projects.

Program objective

The program objective is to strengthen institutional capacities in epidemiology and biosecurity by introducing and operationalising the One Health concept in selected national institutions of the Beneficiary Countries, which are directly or indirectly responsible for diagnosis, preparedness, response, prevention and control of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and other zoonoses in domestic poultry and other animals.

Program components

Component 1: Regional knowledge sharing and One Health Hub Development Workshops
Regional platforms, One Health Hubs, have been created for communication, collaboration as well as training and workshops to other relevant in-region professional and scientific personnel. The One Health concept is put into practice in the Beneficiary Countries by stimulating and effective operational implementation of biosecurity and disease control activities across the medical and veterinary interface. Moreover, cooperation between countries in the region is facilitated for the control of zoonotic diseases, especially those for which transboundary spread is likely. For more on One Health Development Workshops, see One Health Projects.

Component 2: Development of One Health Hubs in Epidemiology
The development of One Health Hubs in the Beneficiary Countries is strengthened by collaboration with national institutions of Beneficiary Countries to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program and will lead to:

  1. The enhancement of disease early warning and detection systems;
  2. A heightened capacity for surveillance and response;
  3. An enhanced identification and assessment of disease drivers in food and animal production, and natural resource management;
  4. The increased capacity of public veterinary services in preparation, prevention and response to animal disease occurrence;
  5. Further assessment of the social and economic impact of diseases;
  6. Collaboration between private sector stakeholders and public sector actions in livestock and wildlife health;
  7. And more effective communication of risk at all levels.

Future of the One Health Program

A regional knowledge-sharing workshop in epidemiology and biosecurity will be organised towards the end of the program in 2013 for key participants in the One Health Hubs, people from the Government Ministries including Ministers or their representatives, regional and international experts, and representatives of the donor and international agencies, to provide a forum for inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral dialogue focussed on ensuring the sustainability of the OHHs, and presenting the results of project activities, engaging participants in a regional-level zoonotic disease simulation exercise, and providing additional specialised training as required. Ongoing commitment from each of the countries to jointly maintain the OHH and collaborative activities between their Ministries nationally and regionally will be sought in pursuit of a sustainable OH agenda in the region beyond the end of the program funding.

Focussed on zoonotic disease priorities, One Health Hub activities and Collaborative Investigation Projects (CIPs) will continue to be conducted within each One Health Hub to strengthen capability and capacity at both national and regional levels, and to assist in meeting the critical needs and resolving key constraints identified by the needs assessments.

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