The study initially was to focus on peri-urban areas surrounding Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. These were going to be based on different levels of population density and urbanisation in a way that could help establish reasonable comparison of public and animal health situations across ecotypes.
The sites were to be identified, keeping in mind factors such as presence of significant peri-urban dairy farming; location of these dairy farms identified in authorised zones surrounding the centre of the city; and presence of and access to credible and key partners that are willing to carry out research activities. These will include the veterinary college and local NGO that has the experience of working with dairy farmers in these areas.
However, during Formative Research, it was observed that among Tier 1 cities, none met the criteria/case definitions of the study, either in terms of the peri-urban ecosystem or/and small holding cattle size (<=10) or presence of credible veterinary partner.
Infectious diseases are an important public health issue in India. Efforts for their prevention and control are often hampered due to lack of evidence with respect to their burden and risks. Keeping this in mind, the research group proposed that if resources permit, the study would be expanded geographically to gain a more comprehensive and systematically estimated picture that is also more representative of the national scenario. In these additional sites, the expanded scope was to be limited to the baseline survey and the study of risk factors.
In addition to meeting the case definitions, one of the main criteria to select any city was the presence of a credible veterinary college, preferably a Veterinary Public Health Department and/or good lab facility, like deep freeze storage since the study would be dealing with collection and storage of perishable milk samples at prescribed temperature. This necessitated the inclusion of a third new site, namely, Ludhiana where the School of Public Health and Zoonosis, GADVASU was shortlisted. The institute’s credibility was already established, having being on board as a laboratory partner.
The intervention phase has been therefore modified and now includes Guwahati, Bengaluru and Ludhiana as study sites. Legal, financial and ethical approvals have been obtained in order to expedite their being part of the study which includes five sites on board. Apart from the three new inclusions mentioned above, the other two are Bhubaneswar and Udaipur. The MoU and Sub-grant agreements have been signed with all five partners. for more updates click here.