The inauguration ceremony of Zoonoses Information Resource Centre (ZIRC) was held at the Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences of the University of Agriculture Peshawar. The ceremony was inaugurated by Prof Khan Bahadar Marwat, Vice Chancellor AUP as the chief guest of the event. Prof Subhan Qureshi Dean of faculty, Professor Umar Sadique, Dr Zulfiqar (Registrar-AUP), Dr Aziz Ahmad National Program Manager (RI) and Dr Shaukat Khan APM KPK Relief International, faculty members and postgraduate students were present on the occasion. The Zoonoses Resource Information Center is established by Relief International as a component under the Livestock for Life project. The objective of the establishment of the ZIRC is to support the students and researchers of the University to gain access to information and data on Zoonotic diseases.
On the occasion the Vice Chancellor appreciated the efforts and collaboration of RI and the Agriculture University Peshawar for minimizing the threats of Zoonoses in the area and to ensure the institutional role of the University. He said that this University has set the targets and is making efforts to achieve the maximum level of contribution for the benefit of the masses in the region and that the faculty of AHVS is the flagged faculty for ensuring the desired services to the community. He said that focus from the government side is more on the public health institutes while the veterinary component in the country is requiring more focus for development as this has major contributions in food security, foreign exchange earnings and thus the ultimate control of Zoonoses is highly required. He said to achieve all these goals and mission the collaboration with NGOs and other organizations can be helpful. He appreciated the establishment of ZIRC as the first step and tangible result of collaboration with RI. He paid thanks to Relief International for its support in providing a forum where the students will get information and knowledge about zoonotic diseases and the research support to the students of AH&VS by RI, will further add to the success of the University.
Dr Aziz Ahmad on behalf of Relief International said that RI under the LFL project is prioritizing the public and veterinary health through making awareness, building capacities and integration of the efforts for minimizing the threats of Zoonoses and its control. He said that integration of role and efforts of concerned departments and collaboration with the institutes is ultimately needed to prevent and control the zoonotic diseases. Dr Aziz also affirmed that RI will continue to support the postgraduate students of the University in research on zoonotic diseases that will help reduce the burden of prevailing diseases. Dr Aziz said that linkage development and strengthening collaboration of the University with Khyber Medical University, Department of Livestock and Dairy Development and Public health will be supportive to the cause of both RI and the University of Agriculture Peshawar. He further added that Nanhgarhar and Kabul Universities will also be linked with the Agriculture University Peshawar and Khyber Medical University in KP for knowledge sharing of the research scholars on various issues that affects the mutual benefits in livestock sector and the control of the trans-boundary diseases across both the countries.
Dr Subhan Qureshi Dean Faculty of AH&VS gave a brief of the contributions of the faculty to the audience and commented on various important functions the faculty is contributing for the farming societies in improving the livelihood of the poor farming communities in the province. He added that the AH&VS faculty is providing services in multiple roles as academia and center of excellence for the students in veterinary field. Regarding the staff he added that we have potential human resource who will be utilizing the facilities for improving the standards in quality education to the students, the research grants will encourage students for issues based research and the aim is to protect the livestock against various diseases that ultimately will result in improved livelihood of the farming communities in the region.
Dr Umar sidique Professor and Chairman Faculty of AH&VS briefed the Vice Chancellor about the importance of the center. He added that about 70% of the new emerging diseases are zoonotic in nature. He said that the faculty of AHVS is supporting research on Zoonotic and other transferable diseases from livestock to humans. He regarded the support of RI and acknowledged the collective efforts with the faculty for a considerable progress being achieved in awareness of the students on issues pertaining to livestock and public health.