The Symposium is the concluding event of the One Health Regional Training Program, and is planned to be held over 5-days from 2–6 December 2013. Participants will be invited from each country and include technical specialists, and both operational decision makers and senior government officials.
The primary venue for the Symposium is the Zhiwa Ling Hotel, located in the Paro Valley in the Kingdom of Bhutan. This venue has been chosen for it’s beautiful location, special conference environment, and experience in catering for regional meetings of this nature involving representatives from South Asian governments.
Bhutan is located on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, landlocked between the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. It lies between latitudes 26° and 29°N, and longitudes 88° and 93°E.
Detailed programme of the symposium.
The South Asia Regional One Health Symposium was held in the beautiful Paro Valley in Bhutan from 2–6 December 2013, and was a most successful and memorable event hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan. The Symposium concluded the four-year One Health Regional Training Programme on Epidemiology and Biosecurity for South Asia, funded by the European Commission through the Avian and Human Influenza Trust Fund administered by the World Bank, and implemented by Massey University, New Zealand.
The Symposium considered needs for strengthening the implementation of a “one health” approach to the management of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases in South Asia and emphasized the crucial importance of adopting an integrated strategy for these diseases, incorporating human health, domestic animal health and wildlife health.
The objective of the final day of the symposium was to strengthen commitment amongst the individuals and government agencies represented to continue and further develop the One Health approach to infectious disease control in the South Asia region. National, regional and global One Health initiatives were outlined and the national and regional resolutions to further strengthen One Health in the region were presented to the audience of senior policy makers, technical delegates and international development partners.
In a two-day simulation exercise, regional symposium delegates were challenged to identify the cause of a very unusual disease outbreak simulated to begin in a small village in Paro, Bhutan involving people, dogs and cattle. Thankfully this wasn’t a real outbreak, but one skilfully prepared by Emeritus Professor Roger Morris of Massey University and Dr Mary van Andel of Ministry of Primary Industries, New Zealand.
Professor Emeritus Roger Morris of Massey University presented a keynote address to the delegates entitled “One Health Strategy for South Asia – Progress and Prospects”. After briefly describing the genesis and strategy of the two-phase Regional Training Program in Human and Animal Health Epidemiology being celebrated at this Symposium, Professor Morris outlined several One-Health initiatives being launched in 2014 that will build on the momentum created through the project and involve a number of new and familiar faces across the South Asia Region.
The South Asia Regional One Health Symposium was officially opened with an exciting traditional Bhutanese Marchang ceremony held in the dramatic Zhiwa Ling main foyer. The Chief Guest for the Inaugural Session was His Excellency Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, the Honorable Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs for Bhutan.
Sunday 1st December, the day before the arrival of technical delegates to the South Asia Regional One Health Symposium, the animal and human health coordinators for the One Health Hub in each country met with Massey staff at Zhiwa Ling, the main Symposium venue.