Saarc nations should fight animal diseases together: India

June 9th, 2008 - 10:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) The Saarc member nations must join hands in fighting veterinary diseases like bird flu anywhere in South Asia, India said Monday urging its neighbours to devise an action plan for the purpose. A two-day South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) conference of Chiefs of Veterinary Services began here Monday with a call to tackle “bird flu and other trans-boundary animal diseases jointly”.

Inaugurating the conference, India’s Animal Husbandry Secretary Pradeep Kumar offered to share with other Saarc nations the country’s laboratories and expertise in prevention and control of diseases like bird flu.

Kumar argued that all Saarc nations have “similar livestock systems and economic and social realities and all the nations suffer from inadequacies of veterinary infrastructure and shortage of technical manpower”.

“It is, therefore, imperative that they share veterinary information and know-how with neighbouring countries, especially in dealing with trans-boundary diseases,” Kumar said.

He said sharing information immediately after the onset of a major disease in a country is of paramount importance in checking its spread.

“There is scope for coordination among the Saarc nations in all areas of veterinary science ranging from capacity building, diagnosis and prophylaxis,” he said.

Emphasising that these diseases spread from one country to another, Kumar called upon the delegates to “evolve an action plan to tackle trans-boundary animal diseases”.

India and Bangladesh have faced a bird flu outbreak simultaneously this year.

In the worst outbreak in India, bird flu had spread to 13 of the 19 districts of West Bengal and culling measures still continued at some places there. The disease also spread across several districts of Tripura.

Across the border, Bangladesh has also been battling bird flu for months and reported its first human case of avian influenza in May.

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