India hosts first ‘SAARC Epidemiology Networking Forum’ meeting

India shows commitment towards building collaborations for joint animal disease surveillance and control programmes


New Delhi: The First SAARC Epidemiology Networking Forum Meeting was jointly organized by the Government of India (Division of Livestock Health, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHDF), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare), the SAARC Secretariat and FAO through CCS National Institute of Animal Health (CCS NIAH) during February 27-28, 2017 at NASC Complex, New Delhi.

The objective of this first forum meeting was primarily to operationalize a sustainable and functioning veterinary epidemiology network among the eight SAARC Member States to build trust and foster collaboration between the Member States to achieve a more effective and efficient TADs, including zoonoses, control. The Epi Focal point (13) from the 07 member states, except Pakistan, participated in the meeting. The resource persons (11) from the international agencies like FAO, OIE, WHO, RSU-SAARC and SAC participated and facilitated the forum.

The inaugural session was presided over by Mr Devendra Chaudhary, Secretary (ADF), Govt of India. Dr Suresh S. Honnappagol,  Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Govt of India; Dr A.V.J Prasad, IAS, Joint Secretary, DAHDF, Govt of India and Dr. Ashok Kumar, ADG (Animal Health) ICAR graced the function. Mr Chaudhary, IAS, Secretary (ADF), Govt of India emphasised on the economic upgradation of SAARC member states through control of TADs and suggested to make disease-free zones. Mr Devendra Chaudhary highlighted the significance of harmonizing the reporting systems of the member states of SAARC. He stressed that the policies be framed may be oriented towards Farmers First goal. He has shown the commitment of India towards strengthening this forum and building collaborations through joint R&D programmes and joint disease surveillance & control programmes.

The two-day meeting was chaired by Dr S S Honnappagol, Animal Husbandry Commissioner. The meeting included presentations from experts and interactive group exercises, besides informal discussions on various aspects to identify and control TADs and EIDs.During the meeting, experts from various SAARC MSs expressed their commitment to make the forum self sustainable and identified the respective capacities in lab and field epidemiology in each country for mutual sharing and benefits. Experts from FAO(Dr Peter Black), including those from ECTAD-Bangaldesh& Bangkok (Dr Holy TenegAkwar, Dr KachenWongsathapornchai), Eu-FMD(Dr Keith Sumption), SAC (Dr MdNureAlamSiddiky), WHO-SEARO (Dr GyanendraGongal) as well as RRAP OIE (Dr Caitlin Jacobs Holley) besides RSU-FAO (Dr Santanu K Bandyopadhyay, Dr PasangTshering) shared their experiences to make the forum successful.

It was decided to hold regular meetings using ICT tools to develop specific agenda and build further trust till next physical meeting. The forum agreed to make India as Secretariat for the forum for one year till the next face to face meeting of the forum.