Boy holding chickens in northern India
Boy with chicken in northern India. Image ILRI/Flickr

Poultry production has doubled globally in the past 20 years, fuelled by population growth and urbanisation. Today, more than 1 trillion eggs and 90 million tonnes of poultry meat are produced each year.

However, rapid intensification of poultry production can come with big public health risks. These include:

  • Widespread bacterial food poisoning
  • The emergence of diseases with epidemic – even pandemic – potential, such as avian influenza
  • The development of antimicrobial resistance

There is an urgent need to meet the growing demand for low-cost poultry meat and eggs in a safe and sustainable way. This is most evident today in South and Southeast Asia.

The UKRI GCRF One Heath Poultry Hub is an impact-driven development research programme working in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Taking an interdisciplinary and intersectoral ‘One Health’ approach, we are exploring how rapid expansion of poultry production increases risk of infectious disease and why certain processes and behaviours are risky.

We will also be testing novel interventions for disease control.

With strong networks of local, regional and global stakeholders, the evidence we generate will be put to immediate use by those who can make a difference.

Safer poultry systems

Safer poultry systems in Asia will contribute to meeting the nutritional needs of poor people. They will reduce the risk of diseases (‘zoonoses’) spilling over from chickens to people, decreasing the incidence of food poisoning in consumers locally and the threat of disease outbreak globally.

Safer poultry systems will also bring economic and wellbeing benefits to poultry farmers and others in the poultry supply chain, as well as improve the poultry industry as a whole, contributing to local, national and regional development.

Sustainable Development Goals

In this way, our work directly addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular: SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger) and SDG 3 (Good health and wellbeing). Our work also contributes to SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production).

These broader development goals remain at the heart of our work.

The One Health Poultry Hub is funded for five years by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)  through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).