Bangladesh’s inhabitants have been extensively involved in the livestock sector since time immemorial. The livestock industry directly employs 20% of the country’s population, while the livestock industry indirectly employs 50%. This sector has played a critical role in keeping the wheels of the country’s economy turning, in addition to satisfying nutritional demands. According to the Department of Livestock Service (DLS), approximately 90 lakhs, 93 thousand, and 242 animals were slaughtered on last Eid-Ul-Azha, with 1 lakh taka per cow and 7000 takas every goat, totaling around 44071 crore taka (approx.). Furthermore, if the year-round milk, meat, and eggs are counted, it is easy to guess how much economic dependence there is around this sector. Due to the successful implementation of various projects of the Department of Livestock Service under the initiative of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MoFL), Bangladesh is already on the path of meat surplus, and egg self-sufficiency. Hopefully, milk self-sufficiency will be achieved soon.
Despite this progress, the main challenge in the livestock industry is disease control. If the disease can be controlled simultaneously, medical expenditures can be reduced, and the disease-related production system deficit can be eliminated. It is conceivable to save the country’s vast economy in this manner. We also need to employ epidemiological knowledge to make this work easier. Now, explain the distinction between a general prescriber and an epidemiologist prescriber, as well as the epidemiology prospectus.
In 1984, a gentleman named John Snow, suddenly discovered in the Golden Square of London, many diarrhea patients. Like all other days, he went to the treatment and noticed that the diarrhea patients were coming from a certain area. He completed the spot mapping and determined that those who got their water from a certain pump, the historic Broad Street pump, were more likely to get diarrhea. To control the sickness, the water collection from that pump was halted, and interestingly, the number of diarrhea sufferers dropped. Furthermore, creation is a new chapter in the history of medicine.
Nevertheless, even then, the cholera bacteria were not discovered. Now consider this: how could it have been if John Snow had not used his intelligence? He would write and prescribe like other prescribers, but he would be unable to control diarrhea since people would continue to use water from the Broad Street pump. As a result, in today’s disease control systems, the population takes precedence over individual patients. In other words, an epidemiologist alters the population’s therapeutic mindset, which is crucial in a developing country like ours.
Epidemiologists will be able to tell the government whether a new disease is on the way by improving the surveillance system. Or whether or not a new disease will emerge? Or how much of a risk does the new look pose? With the help of specialists, the government would be able to take proper preventative steps in this situation.
If I express it in a different way, it means the epidemiologist’s field of work, then I can use certain words. We’re presumably aware of the disease’s control efforts through vaccine. Disease control, on the other hand, is impossible without efficient immunization programs. We may also be aware that many agents cause diseases, and that scientists have developed several vaccines to prevent certain diseases. Isn’t it time-consuming to develop a vaccine for a novel disease? For different reasons, even after completing vaccine activities, it is not viable to control the disease in chronic diseases. One explanation is that some risk variables are unclear. Where a disease cannot be vaccinated against, the disease can be controlled by eliminating the risk factors. Because a disease needs have a combination of agent, host, and environmental elements in order to be carried out. Furthermore, vaccinations against all diseases are difficult to get in impoverished countries, therefore epidemiology can play a unique role in disease control.
Veterinary epidemiologists can help control zoonotic diseases such as covid-19, anthrax, rabies, tuberculosis, bird flu, and other zoonotic diseases (of the 1,415 human pathogens worldwide, 61 percent are zoonotic), as well as risk analysis, outbreak investigation, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Thanks to the Government of Bangladesh’s goodwill and the Department of Livestock Service’s (DLS) initiative, the Epidemiology Unit and various project surveillance efforts are underway. Another good news is that the “One Health Institute” under the University of Chattagram Veterinary and Animal Sciences (CVASU) has already given fellowships to 6 officers of the Department of Livestock Service (DLS) for higher epidemiology training, known as the Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians, with financial support from Global Health Development (GHD). Furthermore, each batch includes at least two government veterinarians in the similar training offered by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control, and Research (IEDCR) who specialize in epidemiology. Hopefully, this group will contribute to the development of a successful disease control strategy in the country.
Last but not least, if it is possible to create an institution in the Department of Livestock that is modeled after the IEDCR for humans, if it is possible to increase surveillance activities, if it is possible to train all public and private veterinarians in epidemiology, and if it is possible to expand laboratory diagnosis facilities, then I think it will be possible for the livestock sector to keep up the pace of economic development, which will be more rapid.
To conclude today’s remarks, I’d like to express my gratitude to the world’s field epidemiologists. The good news is that on September 7, Field Epidemiology Day, the globe will commemorate the legendary “John Snow” for the first time. The goal of this day is to honor and promote awareness of field epidemiologists’ critical role in defending population health and thereby achieving global health security, as well as to lobby for additional funding for field epidemiology training, research, and professionals.
Dr. Md. Ibrahim Khalil
Fellow, FETP’V & BCS (Livestock),
Department of Livestock service(DLS), Bangladesh.