Commitment and Collaboration: Moving Forward from A/H1N1

Welcome to the RCZI blog!

We are excited by the prospect of using a new media tool to further disseminate information on zoonoses and more importantly to bring into our fold a larger group of people who can through their scientific research, practice and understanding, strengthen understanding of issues and disseminate knowledge on zoonoses prevention and control in India. This is also an attempt to enrich the content of this website.

The blog is a simple but effective effort to further our commitment to optimise a two-way communication with our partners and users. The blog provides an expeditious system for you, our stakeholders, to present ideas while engaging in robust scientific discussion with the goal of controlling and preventing zoonoses.

Those of us who are working in the vast and complex field of zoonoses are seeing how the significance of a diverse and emerging group of infections is underestimated and understudied. That the prevalence of zoonoses is higher in the developing world, where health professionals are often deprived of the rapid and free availability of related scientific information, places that much more responsibility on us.

The huge potential of the World Wide Web (www) has allowed many of us free access to specialised content as we remain updated on global developments, establish contact with experts, gain insights into how established institutions of repute think and strategically focus on targets, goals and objectives and most importantly learn from some of these exchanges as we refine our own projects and initiatives.

Recent episodes of H5N1 and A/H1N1 have shown us, especially those in the South Asian cluster that includes India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, how ill-equipped we are to deal with disease outbreaks, especially where evidence-based research is inadequate. With fairly similar socio-economic-cultural and geographical patterns, there are commonalities that necessitate a more vibrant exchange of information and collaborative effort.

In the recent outbreaks, while our governments responded with swiftness by setting up emergency units, establishing monitoring mechanisms and launching advocacy drives to inform and reassure a panic-stricken general population (see our website on A/H1N1), we were forced to accept that there still remained visible chinks in the armour. Pandemic preparedness continues to be a grey area in the developing world, given our diversities, large population, poor rural communities and inaccessible zones. Special skill sets and innovative, affordable tools are needed to combat these.

Through the RCZI blog we hope to continuously update health professionals who deal with zoonoses in all their medical, veterinary and public health aspects. The site will be a repository of information that can be accessed by both the specialist and the non specialist and will hold 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.

Our focus would be to keep the site simple, jargon free and easy to navigate. And we want this blog to serve as a portal to real, open and honest scientific communication. We solicit not just your comments and feedback but also your commitment to partner us in making the site and blog interactive, informative and user-friendly. That said, this blog is moderated.