Morning milking in Rajasthan, India

Morning milking in Rajasthan, India. Regional experts have called for appropriate One Health approaches to improve the prevention and control of zoonoses and agriculture-associated diseases in South Asia (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

On 25 November 2013, a regional multi-stakeholder forum on One Health/Ecohealth, with special emphasis on agriculture-associated diseases, was held in New Delhi, India. The event brought together some 50 high-level representatives from the human, animal and environmental health sectors, including international donors, policymakers, developmental agencies and researchers.

Among the several issues discussed was the need for a centralized body or coordination mechanism to address the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases in the South Asia region. With regard to disease surveillance and reporting, it was felt that in countries like India which follow a ‘top-down’ approach, there is need to also incorporate community-based ‘bottom-up’ surveillance that focuses not just on reporting but also on development.

Several participants drew attention to the need to develop robust estimates on how much zoonotic diseases are currently costing the public and private sectors. In order to be able to convince policymakers to invest in One Health, there is need to provide estimates of the full cost of disease and the cost of different options for reducing it.

One of the suggestions put forward to add value to One Health efforts was to document best practices – with clear pointers to what worked well and what did not – and share these lessons with states and regions who could adapt them to suit their local contexts. This is important as because there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to One Health.

The stakeholder forum was organized by the South Asia office of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and supported by the International Association for Ecology and Health, the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) and the Public Health Foundation of India.

Access the workshop report