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33rd WOAH Regional Commission for Asia and the Pacific Inaugurated by MoS Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in New Delhi

The 33rd Conference of the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) Regional Commission for Asia and the Pacific commenced today in New Delhi, inaugurated by Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan. The event, scheduled from November 13 to 16, 2023, witnessed the presence of esteemed dignitaries, including MoS(FAHD), Dr. L. Murugan.

Aysha Anam

In his address, Dr. Balyan emphasized the critical connection between human infections and animals, citing WOAH's data indicating that 69% of human infections originate from animals. He highlighted the pressing need to address areas such as food safety, public health, animal welfare, and antimicrobial resistance. Dr. Balyan outlined the Indian government's proactive measures, including the establishment of mobile veterinary units and the National Digital Livestock Mission, aiming to elevate veterinary services for farmers and leverage digitization in the livestock and dairy sector.

Moreover, the implementation of disease control programs targeting FMD, Brucellosis, PPR, and classical swine fever through comprehensive vaccination campaigns across eligible livestock nationwide was highlighted by Dr. Balyan. These initiatives are pivotal in bolstering animal health and welfare in the country.

Addressing the significance of the fisheries sector, MoS Dr. L. Murugan emphasized its substantial contribution to the socio-economic fabric and nutritional requirements, constituting 1% of the national GDP and 5.37% of the Agricultural GDP. He noted the sector's growth, with an expected annual fish production of 174 lakh tonnes in 2023, showcasing an 8% increase from the previous year. Dr. Murugan credited this progress to the concerted efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and MoFAH&D, Parshottam Rupala, highlighting the impact of initiatives like the Blue Revolution, aimed at doubling farmers' income.

Alka Upadhyaya, Secretary of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, and the Indian delegate in WOAH, stressed the significance of the One Health approach under the National Digital Livestock Mission, signaling a transformative phase in livestock health, both in India and globally.

The event witnessed the participation of delegates and experts from 24 member countries, both physically and virtually. Distinguished personalities such as Dr. Monique Eloit, WOAH Director-General; Dr. Baoxu Huang, President of WOAH Regional Commission of Asia and the Pacific; Dr. Abhijit Mitra, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Government of India; and Dr. Hirofumi Kugita, WOAH Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Japan, graced the occasion, signifying collaborative efforts in advancing animal health and welfare.

The inaugural session set the tone for discussions and collaborations to elevate animal health standards, foster innovation, and address pressing global challenges concerning the interface between human and animal health.

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