Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD), Government of India has launched a pilot project in the state of Uttarakhand to implement the ‘One Health Framework by One Health Support Unit’. The key objective of the Unit is to develop a national ‘One Health’ roadmap based on the learnings of the pilot project implementation. Inter-ministerial One Health committee under the chairmanship of Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India has been established to lead the implementation of the One Health Support Unit. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) is constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary (AHD), GoI involving representatives from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Indian Council of Agriculture (ICAR); civil societies; international development organisations and field practitioners.
Based on the recommendations of PSC, state and district level one health committees need to be constituted by involving competent authorities from health, animal husbandry and environment ministries. Some of the key activities to be undertaken as part of the pilot project include institutionalising the mechanism for data collection on disease outbreaks, prevalence, management, and development of targeted surveillance plan, integrating a network of laboratories, developing and implementing communication strategy across sectors and integration of the data with the digital architecture of the National Digital Livestock Mission.
Addressing the launch of the pilot project, Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying said, “The ‘One Health India’ programme initiated by the department will work with stakeholders from various sectors to improve livestock health, human health, wildlife health and environmental health through technology and finance. The pilot in Uttarakhand will support the creation of the One Health Framework for India and help build a strong social infrastructure that supports the health of the people and the planet. We look forward to coordinated engagement among all stakeholders for the successful implementation of the pilot.”
“We are happy to move forward with the implementation of the One Health framework in India, the pilot projects will help capacity building and understanding disease prioritisation. Six interventions have been planned for the implementation of the pilot. The interventions will cover institutionalisation and operationalisation aspects for better coordination amongst different relevant sectors. With the support of the state departments and all stakeholders, we look forward to the successful implementation of the pilot.” said, Dr. Praveen Malik, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Government of India.
Addressing the implementation of the One Health programme in Uttarakhand, Alkesh Wadhwani, Director, Poverty Alleviation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation India said, “The One Health approach is key in ensuring sustainable development as it addresses interdependencies among people and the planet. We are happy to support the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying to initiate the pilot project in Uttarakhand and pave the way for the implementation of the national One Health Framework.”
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Speaking on the occasion, Dr. R Meenakshi Sundaram, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of Uttarakhand, said, “Uttarakhand, with its unique environment, is the right destination to pilot the one health project that promotes the wellbeing of people, animals and the planet. We look forward to the successful implementation of the project to provide learnings and recommendations that can be utilised in implementing the One Health framework nationwide. We look forward to coordinated work among all stakeholders at the state level for the achievement of optimum results. With the implementation of the pilot project, we aim to improve infrastructure and facilities that support the health of the people and the planet.”
Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Secretary, Department of Medical Health and Family Welfare, Government of Uttarakhand said, “Human health cannot be viewed in isolation, it is important to realise the interdependencies that animal and environmental health have on human life. With this One Health Framework, we are moving forward to build a healthier India. It’s time we prioritise health while understanding the impacts it has on social and sustainable development.”
Speaking on the occasion, Ranjan Kumar Mishra, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Wildlife, Government of Uttarakhand said, “Uttarakhand is host to a unique ecosystem that boasts of rich biodiversity. The state with its dense population of wildlife ensures and acknowledges that animal and environmental health is critical. To ensure animal, environment and human health is made better, a number of initiatives can be planned in the conservation and reserve zones of Uttarakhand that host a number of communities along with wildlife. The One Health pilot will bring together animal, human and environment health and help ensure the overall quality health of the state.”
Addressing the closing remarks at the launch of the programme, Dr Prem Kumar, Director, Department of Animal Husbandry, Govt of Uttarakhand said, “The state currently has 60 functional veterinary vans that address animal health and wellbeing with the initiation of the One Health framework in Uttarakhand, we look forward to integrating human and environmental health with animal health. Our efforts will be towards identifying gaps if any and ensuring our learnings and recommendations support the development of the One Health Framework for India.”
By developing the One Health Framework, India will successfully address the need for efficient disease reporting and response coordination, optimum utilisation of resources, emergency preparedness, build capability to handle diseases of economic and zoonotic importance, and create public awareness on animal diseases of zoonotic and economic significance.