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Kerala to become first state with ‘One Health Policy’ for meds and vets

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Posted on December 28, 2015: Developing a ‘one health policy’ which seeks to achieve greater cooperation between veterinarians and medical doctors to counter the rise of zoonotic disease is reportedly on the agenda of the annual conference of veterinarians from across India - Vetricon 2015, currently underway at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.

Addressing the participants of the three-day conference at the inaugural function on December 28, 2015, president of the India Veterinary Association, Dr E.K. Easwaran, announced the agenda for the conference. He stressed on the fact that 6 out 10 infectious diseases affecting human beings, such as monkey fever and leptospirosis, originate or are transferred from animals. A ‘One Health Policy’ would help stem the rise of such infections.

When a human being gets infected by such an infection it is up to the medical doctor he/she consults to figure out a way to cure the human being. Greater cooperation between veterinarians and medical doctors, such as has been laid out by the World Health Organisation and is already in practise in developed countries, would assist in better awareness of zoonotic diseases and faster results for patients.

If such a ‘one health policy’ were to come into action in the state, Kerala would become the first Indian state to achieve this unprecedented level of cooperation between the two kinds of medics. A draft of such a policy is already before the state government for comments and feedback, a senior vet at the conference told the Times of India.

Kerala concerns

Kerala has seen its fair share of media coverage of late specifically due to its current kerfuffle with its stray dogs.

Most recently, news reports have emerged from the state of a first ever dog census by the city corporation of Thiruvananthapuram which indicated a significant population of stray dogs residing within city limits. The reported incidents of dog bites have seen a significant increase over the past few months, as well.

The TOI reported that of the 4,000 veterinarians in the state, 600 are unemployed and can be used towards proper implementation of the Animal Birth Control Programme, a local authority-run sterilisation drive for stray dogs.

“Like human beings, animals too have a right to life and the biggest problem today is that these stray dogs have multiplied like never before due to inept handling of waste and also because of the way the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programmes are being carried out. We have asked the authorities to see that there are around 600 veterinary doctors who are unemployed and to appoint them to see that ABC programmes are carried out quickly and swiftly,” Dileep Chandran, a senior vet attending the conference told TOI.

Use By Date

While the ‘one health policy’ is a step in the right direction to ensure the minimisation of suffering for both animals and humans alike, by improving the sharing of knowledge and expertise between human and animal doctors; the state government Kerala is in serious need of a sound action plan to improve the stray dogs ‘situation’ within its jurisdiction. Again, both for man and animal alike.

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