India National One Health Symposium

The National One Health Symposium was organised by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in New Delhi on the 26th November, 2013 in collaboration with Massey University, New Zealand. The symposium reviewed outcomes of the Regional Training Programme, summarised progress in implementing a One Health approach to zoonotic disease control within national institutions and assessed the effectiveness of cross-sectoral collaboration. International and national organisations from government, public-private sector, NGO, pioneers in public health, veterinary sector, wildlife and environment participated in the Symposium.

Objectives of the One Health Symposium

  1. To summarise progress and achievements in implementing a One Health approach to zoonotic disease control and effectiveness of intersectoral collaboration in India.
  2. To report outcomes of the One Health Regional Training Programme implemented by Massey University from 2010–2013 and to share information on other One Health activities which are being carried out with government sector engagement in India.
  3. To report on progress toward implementation or adoption of an appropriate agency or organisational structure that can work effectively across the human and animal health sectors with government engagement and standing in the field of zoonoses control that can function as a ‘One Health Hub’ in India in support of One Health initiatives operating through or with engagement of the government sector.
  4. To propose national-level outcomes and plans of action that will contribute to sustainability of the One Health approach in India and the South Asia region.

These reports and summaries were taken forward to the regional level at the Regional One Health Symposium in Bhutan, December 2 to 6, 2013.

Key recommendations

The key recommendations emerging from the discussions, suggestions and feedback of the participants during the symposium were as follows:

  • There is a critical need to graduate from understanding the One Health approach to the formulation of a strategy and workable model for implementation of One Health activities in India.
  • It is imperative to advocate adopting a One Health approach to zoonoses in India in order to get financial support from relevant ministries and sectors.
  • We must moot for intersectoral collaboration for the prevention and control of zoonoses among various sectors, specifically human health, animal health and environmental health.
  • We ought to utilise existing mechanisms to promote the One Health approach to zoonoses in India viz. National Standing Committee on Zoonoses, State Committees on Zoonoses, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme and National Animal Disease Reporting System (NADRES) amongst others.
  • We should extend intersectoral collaboration beyond disease specific programmes and responses to all zoonotic diseases of public health importance in India.

Next Steps

The India One Health Symposium identified the following definite next steps. First, present the recommendations and resolutions from the Symposium at the Bhutan SAR symposium held from December 2-6, 2013 to provide country perspective and align national priorities with goals for One Health strengthening in SAR. Second, step up efforts to establish and operationalise an India One Health Hub in order to consolidate the achievements from the Massey University capacity building programme and build upon the successes. Finally, it was suggested that strategies and mechanisms be identified and institutionalised to strengthen the One Health approach in India and to do this key stakeholders should come together by pooling in their resources and expertise.