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The RCZI initiative since its inception has engaged itself in multiple areas of work that cover the entire gamut of zoonoses control and prevention through research, capacity building and advocacy. Below are listed some of its major activities:

Capacity Building

Collaborative Research

Health Communication

Advocacy

Programme Evaluation

Capacity Building


Short-term Strategy: Training in Integrated Prevention and Control of Zoonoses
As a short-term strategy for building multisectoral response capacity, RCZI has developed a three-day training module for district level medical, veterinary and wild life health officers in early detection and response to episodes of zoonotic infections. This is a unique one-of-its-kind training package that steps back from a disease-based approach and imparts skills for better coordination and planning against both endemic and epidemic zoonoses situations. Trainees work in multisectoral teams and through a case study approach investigate and control a zoonotic disease outbreak before jointly developing a district level action plan for prevention and control of endemic zoonoses.

Long-term Strategy: Framework for Targeted Advocacy' for Revision of Medical Curriculum'
Inadequate recognition of zoonoses as a problem and lack of understanding of the role of intersectoral collaboration for its effective prevention and control has been one of the major flaws in medical and veterinary graduate education. Several innovations have been attempted in the past in other parts of the world to improve education of zoonoses, including conceptualising and offering a joint degree programme in (MPH/DVM) in American universities.

In India, the concept of offering a Masters in Public Health (MPH) programme is yet to gain stronghold. Medical and veterinary graduates continue to be the custodians of public health. Therefore, as a long-term strategy to strengthen zoonoses prevention and control, RCZI along with partner organisations has developed of a 'framework for targeted advocacy' for revision of medical curriculum to make zoonoses related education more effective.

This has been done through a seminal exercise of developing a structured data collection methodology for generation of primary evidence on gaps in knowledge and practice level of medical students and graduates, gap analysis of current medical curriculum followed by intense consultation with leading national experts and academicians to make recommendations for suitable revisions. The process will now be extended to graduate veterinary curriculum followed by dissemination to central and state level medical councils. Click here to access the document

Collaborative Research


Strategic Research Agenda for Zoonoses Prevention and Control in India
To promote multisectoral research, RCZI has identified priority research options for zoonoses prevention and control in India to be researched in the next five years. Developed through a rigorous methodology that involved consultations with leading national and international experts and research institutions, a guiding framework for multisectoral collaborative research has been developed to generate evidence and guide policies on zoonoses prevention and control. Click here to access the document

Disease Surveillance
We are currently undertaking a retrospective policy analysis of communicable disease surveillance policies in India of the last two decades. This work is supported under a Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust - PHFI joint capacity building grant. This study aims to critically analyse the genesis of disease surveillance policies in India using a historical lens. It aims to document the global and national context that were crucial to the design and implementation of pilot programs on integrate disease surveillance and outbreak response. It seeks to examine the interactions between and the roles played by major actors and institutions in influencing the national strategy. The study uses case study method to study the successive surveillance models active in the country within the last twenty five years and document the policy formulation and implementation processes.

Health Communication

Newsletter: Zoonoses Watch
A key strategy of the RCZI Initiative is to raise awareness on zoonoses amongst various stakeholders and sections of society and to advocate for greater intersectoral collaboration for prevention and control of zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases. As a short-term communication and health promotion strategy, RCZI launched a quarterly e-newsletter. 'Zoonoses Watch' in January, 2009. 

It has four sections catering to specific audiences relating to the prevention and control of zoonoses: Researchers’ Update, Practitioners’ Forum, Policy Focus and Info Corner, providing subscribers. with a comprehensive update as also strengthening their understanding of the subject, with a strong South Asia focus. The newsletter also highlights best practices from India and abroad and provides updates on some of the key projects currently underway by RCZI partners
Click here for more details

Communication Strategy on Zoonoses
Through a consultative process with stakeholders in multiple sectors and field level inputs from communities and stakeholders, RCZI has developed a framework for medium- to long-term zoonoses communication-health promotion strategy. It assesses communication need and environment, identifies communication gaps and opportunities and maps available communication channels for zoonoses prevention and control in India across sectors. It suggests pathways for providing information and triggering motivation to enable communities and stakeholders to take action. It also explores advocacy opportunities for zoonoses prevention and control, including health communication and advocacy training in zoonoses sensitisation and capacity-building. Guidance is provided for risk and outbreak communication for zoonoses of public health importance in India.

RCZI Website
Creating an interactive platform that allows free access to information, updates on national and international events/happenings and analysis of issues that are topical and relevant to zoonoses, the website reaches out to health professionals who deal with zoonoses in their medical, veterinary and public health aspects.

The site is a repository of information that can be accessed by both the specialist and the non specialist, holding potential of acquiring depth through its interactive platforms, allowing feedback, sharing of resources and cross linking to help evolve into a rich and dynamic medium.

The RCZI blog allows experts to share their views in an honest and candid way, encouraging feedback and dialogue.

Advocacy

Coordination Mechanism for Multisectoral Collaboration

A multisectoral Joint Working Group has been formed with membership and active technical support of 13 national and international, government and non-government organisations which have research as well programme implementation mandates. The group meets every six months to advise on the activities of the RCZI in addition to fostering national and international collaborations for the initiative. Click here for more details

Roadmap for Strengthening Public Health Laboratory Services for Diagnosis of Infectious Disease including Emerging Infections

Major challenges exist in making health laboratories less than effective. These include weak nationwide systems, disjointed procurement and supply systems, disparity between urban and rural areas, lack of infrastructure and human resources, variable quality of laboratory performance and equipment/supplies/diagnostics that is either inappropriate or ill-maintained. The strategic framework for strengthening public health laboratories services outlines a roadmap for the systematic implementation of current and future efforts especially in the context of Infectious diseases. Click here for more details

Roadmap for preparing National Public Health Laboratory Services Framework

Programme Evaluation

Rabies Control Initiative in Tamil Nadu: Analysis of Intervention Strategies and Model Documentation
Human deaths due to rabies in India account for nearly 50% of the global burden. Majority of the rabies victims in the country are from the poorer sections of society and rural areas. There is no organised national rabies control programme and the health system has not been able to provide quality treatment to majority of the dog bite cases. Recent reports suggest that Tamil Nadu has made a coordinated effort involving public health and animal husbandry agencies and put in place interventions like ABC – AR and universal vaccine supply to address this public health challenge.

PHFI/RCZI appraised the rabies control initiative in the state of Tamil Nadu, reviewed intervention strategies of the programme and documented their effect on the status of dog bite and rabies cases in the state. Through an in-depth analysis of the intervention model, the study identified best practices on rabies prevention and control.

RCZI now plans to undertake an in depth costing of the initiatives and assess the cost-benefit of the intervention model which would further help reflect on replication to other regions. Click here for more details
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