Mercy For Animals India Foundation is excited to announce its collaboration with the George Institute for Global Health India to advance ‘One Health’ Research in India. Established in 2007, the George Institute for Global Health India is a leading independent medical research institute with a mission to improve the health of millions of people in India through high-quality discovery and implementation research.
For decades, the world has seen a significant rise in illnesses caused by zoonotic pathogens, infectious organisms that can pass from nonhuman animals to humans. In recent years, zoonotic pathogens such as the ones causing severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS); the Ebola virus; influenza strains H1N1, H5N1, and H7N9; and the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19 have triggered epidemics and pandemics around the world, posing serious threats to global health and economies.
There is an urgent need for research to identify potential areas of intervention, develop and test strategies, and engage communities as critical allies in addressing zoonotic disease. And we are thrilled to partner with the George Institute to facilitate this important work.
Why the partnership between an animal welfare group and a public health institute in India?
- Humans and animals are inextricably linked, so health stressors affecting animals can also affect humans and vice versa. To avoid or mitigate negative and potentially devastating health effects, we must recognise stressors and conditions likely to cause them. The ‘One Health’ approach is intended to tackle and prevent zoonoses from a holistic perspective by understanding the links between humans, animals, and the broader ecosystem.
- The One Health approach is a proactive public health strategy, an alternative to traditional zoonoses prevention and control programmes, which are often vertical and reactive. Although One Health initiatives are gaining popularity around the world, India still deals with zoonoses through vertical programmes and isolated approaches.
- The COVID-19 pandemic proves that experts in animal welfare and human health need to come together to address these threats to humankind. Our partnership with the George Institute will help foster strong multidisciplinary, systematic research and collaborations to inform policies for preventing and dealing with health crises.
The George Institute India and Mercy For Animals India will work together on a three-year strategy for effective One Health collaborations around infectious disease and to establish channels to share knowledge among animal welfare experts, public health researchers, clinicians, and health system experts in India.