Rabies and Operationalizing One Health webinar – A Resounding Success!

GARC and IVSA India logo together.

On May 20, 2023, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and the International Veterinary Students' Association (IVSA) India – as part of their new formal collaboration – organized a highly successful webinar on the topic of "Rabies and Operationalizing One Health." Considering that India accounts for more than a third of the global rabies burden, and that sustainability is critical to any rabies elimination efforts, a means to engage with Indian veterinary students presented the perfect opportunity to meaningfully engage. The event brought together nearly 100 people from around the world to explore the intersection of rabies control and the One Health approach. With a diverse range of insightful discussions and practical insights, the webinar proved to be an invaluable platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration, especially for the next generation of veterinary practitioners.

Setting the scene:

Mohana Marathe presents on the IVSA India and the collaboration with GARC

The webinar commenced with an illuminating overview of the burden of rabies in India and its impact on human and animal health by Mohana Marathe from IVSA India. She also provided a succinct overview of the role of IVSA India and highlighted the collaboration between IVSA India and GARC, resulting in the joint hosting of this webinar among other key activities. Most critically, she presented the results of a social media survey undertaken by IVSA India to determine Indian veterinary students’ perspectives on One Health, providing valuable insight into its understanding and operationalization. Most profoundly, the survey highlighted that there is still a lot to do to encourage the true operationalization of One Health in the daily lives of professionals working to support communities to improve overall health systems.   

A Journey through Rabies and One Health:

Dr Scott presents on how rabies elimination builds capacity in the GARC x IVSA India webinar

Dr. Terence Scott from GARC emphasized the urgent need for a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to combat this deadly zoonotic disease. He highlighted how the One Health framework, which recognizes the interconnectedness and interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health, plays a crucial role in achieving effective rabies control and shed light on the practical implementation of the One Health approach in the context of rabies control. After exploring some of the challenges that operationalizing One Health faces, he highlighted some key aspects of rabies elimination that must include the One Health concept at its core to ensure success and sustainability.

Youth Engagement and Advocacy:

Question and Answer session during the IVSA India x GARC webinar

A key highlight of the webinar was the co-hosting of the webinar by the IVSA India committee and the participation of enthusiastic veterinary students from various IVSA Member Organizations from around the world. These students showcased their interest and enthusiasm to be the next generation of leaders who will drive rabies elimination efforts globally using the One Health approach and further promoting its practices in their communities. As this approach is not only key to rabies elimination, but to the improvement and strengthening of health for all, the co-hosting and active engagement of the IVSA members was critical – helping to not only address current issues, but to also prevent future disease outbreaks and pandemics. Their passion served as an inspiration to other attendees, reinforcing the belief that the youth play a pivotal role in driving positive change.

The webinar featured an engaging Question and Answer session, with questions that explored various aspects of rabies control, including the role of education, community engagement, and the challenges faced in implementing One Health strategies at the ground level. The presenters also emphasized the need for capacity building and training programs to equip interested people, including healthcare professionals and veterinarians with the necessary skills to tackle rabies effectively, through the Rabies Educator Certificate (REC) and the subsequent profession-specific courses offered by GARC.

Key Takeaways and Future Directions:

The GARC and IVSA India webinar on "Rabies and Operationalizing One Health" left participants with valuable takeaways and a renewed sense of purpose. Some of the key learnings included the importance of cross-sector collaboration, the role of community engagement and education, and the significance of incorporating One Health principles into daily activities as a veterinary professional. The webinar helped to truly highlight that One Health is not simply an abstract concept, but rather something that can help professionals to better support communities and improve health systems in tangible ways.

The GARC and IVSA India webinar on "Rabies and Operationalizing One Health" was an overwhelming success, bringing together the next generation of veterinary professionals and other stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to discuss and explore innovative approaches to tackle the global burden of rabies.

In case you missed it, you can watch the webinar on GARC’s YouTube channel here. We encourage you to take a proactive stance against rabies - empower yourself with the Rabies Educator Certificate (REC)  course and inspire communities to protect lives through education and awareness using the One Health approach!

Article contributed by: Mohana Marathe (IVSA India) and Dr Terence Scott (GARC)