Nepal One Health Symposium

The extremely successful Nepal One Health Symposium was held over two-days on 6-7 February, 2014 in the Hotel Himalaya Kathmandu.

The program was jointly organised by the Department of Health Services and the Department of Livestock Services Nepal as one of the concluding in-country events of the Regional Epidemiology and Biosecurity Training Programme in South Asia that is being implemented by Massey University, funded by the European Commission through the Animal and Human Influenza Trust Fund and administered by the World Bank.

The Chief Guest, Dr. Praveen Mishra, Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Population, opened the symposium and the inaugural session was chaired by Dr. Lakhan Lal Sah, Director General of Department of Health Services.

This ground-breaking one health symposium was attended by more than 70 delegates from government and non-government organisations, bilateral organisations such as World Bank and FAO, universities and medical schools working at different levels towards control and prevention of zoonotic diseases in Nepal. Noted international participants included Massey University World Bank Program Director Dr. Eric Neumann and One Health Project Activity Coordinator Dr. Joanna McKenzie.

The technical session on the first day began with reading aloud of the resolutions from the South Asia Region One Health Symposium held in Paro last December. Following this, presentations on one health initiatives undertaken in Nepal were made, and the plenary discussion focused on scope and challenges of strengthening the one health approach in the country. Finally, Dr. Neumann introduced the concept of Hubnet to the participants after which the group work sessions started.

The major group work titles were: i) creating an inventory of relevant organisations working in human, livestock and wildlife health sectors in the country; ii) identifying needs that the One Health Hub will fulfil in Nepal; iii) finding one health resolutions for the country; and iv) proposing a structure of a collaborative one health approach for Nepal. Findings of the group discussions were presented at the end of the day.

On the second day, findings of several different Nepalese research studies were presented. Some examples included a study of zoonotic risk for human leptospirosis among febrile patients (the Nepal Collaborative Investigation Project), Japanese encephalitis, rabies, trichinellosis and antibiotic residues in local poultry meat. Additionally, updated information on avian influenza outbreaks in Nepal and current status on diagnostic capabilities of the state-owned human and animal health laboratories were also presented.

The symposium was officially closed after findings of the group work were consolidated and presented in the plenary.