An international One Health Poultry Hub conference funded under the research programme of Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) was inaugurated on 10th February, 2020 in Ahmedabad.
Professor Christine Middlemiss, UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, glorified the event as chief guest and Mr Peter Cook, British Deputy High Commissioner, acted as guest of honour. All dignitaries, delegates and participants were welcomed by Dr C. G. Joshi, Director, GBRC. During the opening ceremony Professor Fiona Tomley, Chaiperson of the One Health Poultry Hub, highlighted an overview of the Hub activities.
During the inaugural session, a guide to poultry production in Gujarati, as well as a leaflet, were launched by Anand Agricultural University and Tamil Nadu University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences respectively. The guide to poultry production covers all the important aspects of poultry production and management and is available for free download from the hub website.
Mr Hareet Shukla, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, in his opening speech emphasised the important role the Department of Science & Technology plays in terms of biotechnology in Gujarat. He expressed happiness about the involvement and contribution of Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre and conveyed wishes for more success. Dr Naresh Kelawala, Vice-Chancellor, Kamdhenu University, highlighted the importance of poultry development and its role in the economy. Dr A. K. Rawat, Advisor, DBT, Government of India, mentioned the importance of biotechnology as well as antimicrobial resistance and residue in animal products to provide safer animal products.
Mr Peter Cook, British Deputy High Commissioner, Ahmedabad, also talked about scientific approaches to provide safe and sustainable poultry production. He was also happy that UKRI and GCRF are funding such an important project across countries. Dr Christine Middlemiss, Chief Veterinary Officer, UK, opined on the importance of animal and public health as well as zoonosis. She also emphasised the role of biosecurity, policy and contribution of biotechnology in achieving the goal to provide for safe and sustainable poultry development. Dr K.S. Prajapati, Nitish Debnath, Robyn Alders, Mathew Baylis, Guillaume Fournie, and Ash Banyard delivered key note addresses.
A total of 88 participants from across 8 different countries including UK, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Belgium, Singapore actively participated in this hub conference. The participating team included diverse, multi-disciplinary professionals comprising from laboratory, clinical, veterinary and social-scientists actively engaged in the one health work.
The GCRF One Health Poultry Hub is one of the twelve GCRF Hubs launched in 2019, funded by UKRI. The Hub is led by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), London, and comprises 29 Institutions from 8 different countries. In Gujarat, this project is being implemented by Anand Agricultural University (AAU), Anand and Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), Department of Science & Technology, Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar in Gujarat state. The UKRI has funded the project worth 9.6 million in Gujarat.
The objectives of the GCRF One Health Poultry Hub are in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. With strong networks of local, regional and global stakeholders, the evidence generated from GCRF One Health Poultry Hub Network will be put to immediate use for developing local, country-specific AMR risk mitigation strategies and policy frameworks. This will reduce the risk of diseases and enhance the health and welfare of humans and animals. Thus, the deliberations undertaken during the conference will help in designing effective Hub implementation strategies and action plans, which in turn will have wide regional and global relevance.