Two-day SAARC chief veterinary officers' meet from Monday

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New Delhi, June 6 (UNI) A two-day conference of SAARC veterinary chiefs, beginning here from June 9, 2008, will deliberate on control of infectious animal diseases across nations in the SAARC region as there is free movement and informal trade between several member countries.

Many of these countries share long borders with a number of countries. Further, agriculture plays an important role in the economy of SAARC countries.

The conference assumes significance in the context of recent outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) in the eastern parts of India and parts of Bangladesh. Since many animal diseases tend to be trans-boundary and have human health implications also, the outcome of the conference will have a bearing on animal health, human health, farm trade within the SAARC region and farm exports from SAARC countries.

The conference will serve to evaluate each other's strengths and weaknesses and flag areas of mutual cooperation. This in turn will lead to better livestock health across the region.

One of the main aims of the conference is to find ways for early warning, issuing of alerts and information sharing for trans-boundary animal diseases so that the member countries can take adequate preventive steps. This will lead to quick control over infectious diseases, confinement of disease to a smaller area, and lowering the risk of outbreak of such diseases in future.

Early warning, timely alerts and transparent information sharing between the members of a community or region are crucial in containing these diseases because application of medicine against it is expensive and cannot be sustained on a long term basis.

The conference will also explore the possibility of launching a progressive control programme for trans-boundary animal diseases for South Asian Region.

UNI JSS AE NS1917

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