RCZI Team Pledges Support to Zoonoses on World Zoonoses Day

World Zoonoses Day that falls on July 6, 2016 is a unique opportunity to talk about this much neglected area of public health. While most of the attention is garnered by emerging Zoonoses with potential for global threat especially those that are outbreak prone, sporadic efforts are made by institutions and donor agencies across the world and within India to highlight concerns around zoonotic diseases, that are endemic and re-emerging.

Every year, PHFI/RCZI carries out advocacy efforts to commemorate this day and draw attention to the priority diseases that they have committed themselves to addressing, namely, Leptospirosis, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, Anthrax, Brucellosis, Bovine Tuberculosis, Cysticercosis, Reckittsialinfections and Salmonellosis.

This year, the team reached out to students of agriculture, veterinary, public health and medicine inviting them to participate in an essay and photography competition. Themes on zoonoses were shared and special posters printed for wide dissemination through the PHFI/RCZI-ILRI knowledge management portal, “On the Fringes”. More than 50 entries were received. Some of the evocative photographs from the competition were uploaded as a photo feature. The essays will soon be published as a compendium. The effort was part of a larger advocacy initiative that aims to generate dialogue and awareness amongst the student and faculty groups bringing the discussion on zoonoses into the forefront. An earlier studyconducted by RCZI pointed towards the dismal levels of ignorance amongst medical students on the subject.

The lean RCZI team that comprises of qualitative and quantitative researchers, project managers and infectious disease experts also took the opportunity to share their views on making zoonoses part of the mainstream public health agenda through a one-liner video. The compilation of these short video quotes makes for an interesting comment to which the larger community can add as they put on their thinking hats on how to make vector borne and zoonotic diseases part of a broader, more encompassing and sensitive discourse especially in the wake of recent outbreaks of Zika, Dengue and H1N1.