New Delhi: The World Bank has approved a $ 82 million loan towards the adoption of global best practices for animal health management and to prevent, detect, and respond to endemic zoonotic diseases in India.
The loan has a maturity of 11.5 years with a grace period of 4.5 years. “It will strengthen India‘s One Health approach, which recognises that people and animals are connected with their shared environment,” World Bank said on Thursday in a release.
An infection or disease that is transmissible from animals to humans under natural conditions is called zoonotic. Animal disease outbreaks globally continue to pose risks to public health systems and have enormous economic costs.
With India having the largest livestock population in the world, these risks are particularly high, it said. Foot and mouth disease alone costs the country more than $ 3.3 billion annually.
“The new program will help reduce the risks of animal disease outbreaks by improving disease surveillance and veterinary services in the livestock and wildlife sectors,” said Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India.
“At least 2.9 million livestock farmers will have increased access to improved animal health services in the participating states of Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh.”
Through state-of-the-art laboratories, the program will also strengthen collaboration and data sharing with the human health sector.
“In India, around 68 per cent of the workforce relies on farming and remains in close contact with domestic animals and poultry, thereby becoming frequently exposed to sick or infected animals,” said Hikuepi Katjiuongua, Adarsh Kumar and Anupam Joshi, the Task Team Leaders for the program.
“By supporting evidence-based policies on animal disease and zoonoses management, the program will address food safety in livestock value chains.”