The number of veterinary professionals in India needs to double by 2017 to safeguard public health across south-east Asia, a report featuring involvement from University of Edinburgh and RVC academics has found.
The number of veterinary professionals in India needs to double by 2017 to safeguard public health across south-east Asia, a report featuring involvement of University from Edinburgh and RVC academics has found.
The report Strengthening the Veterinary Profession in India to Improve Food Security, is the outcome of an expert consultation held by ICAR, the science and agriculture organisation CABI, the University of Edinburgh and the RVC. It warns that without sufficient numbers of veterinarians, India is at risk from a serious threat of increasing outbreaks of zoonotic diseases.
Major investment is needed from both the private and public sectors, particularly from pharmaceutical companies, to fund the necessary expansion of the veterinary profession in India, it continues.
The World Health Organisation, which also participated in the consultation, said the absence of veterinary epidemiologists in India was “extremely worrying” and “must be rectified” to prevent potential epidemics of the scale of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza.
Approximately 80 per cent of the Indian population lives in close contact with domesticated animals, and an average of 20,000 animals are serviced by only one veterinarian.
The report calls for a radical overhaul of veterinary training in India, with a single national standard of competence and a comprehensive programme of CPD coordinated by the Veterinary Council of India. The report also states the curriculum should emphasise providing vets with the skills needed by industry (pharmaceutical and food processing companies) and research. Vets should also be able to work in partnership with farmers, sharing the most up-to-date knowledge about animal husbandry as well as dispensing medicines.
“There are a number of important initiatives already under way, such as ICAR’s national animal disease reporting system and the Indian Veterinary Education Project, led by the University of Edinburgh,” said Robert Taylor, CABI’s head of veterinary market development.
“We hope this report will give new energy to national and international partnerships working to support the veterinary profession in India, and in south-east Asia as a whole.”
The full report can be read here.