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Meet Dr Harish Tiwari

Research fellow, University of Sydney

What is your area of animal health?

I am a veterinary epidemiologist initially trained as a veterinarian in small and large animal practices. I worked as a field veterinarian in rural India for a dairy cooperative and as an Army veterinarian for a decade and a half, whence I gained experience in different domains of veterinary science, including veterinary public health. 

I became interested in epidemiology and veterinary public health as I realised the significance of population-level interventions to control animal diseases (including those of zoonotic importance) and improve the lives of livestock farmers, including smallholders, especially in the developing world. I then completed a doctorate in veterinary epidemiology, at Murdoch University, Western Australia.  

What is your role in the APCOVE project?

I joined the APCOVE project as a Research Fellow in August 2020. In addition to the administrative aspects, I was responsible for conducting stakeholder consultations in the six participating countries in the region. I was deeply involved with all aspects of online training, from the calling of expression of interest, the selection process, organising interactive sessions and selecting candidates and mentors for the field projects. I was part of the APCOVE team, which presented at the Global Health Security conference in Singapore and the ISVEE conference in Halifax in 2022. I also helped the module leaders in creating four online e-learning modules. 

Why are you passionate about improving the skills of the Asia-Pacific animal health workforce?

The nations of the Asia-Pacific arguably have the highest proportions of smallholder livestock farmers in the world. Recently, the region has witnessed several outbreaks affecting animal production and human health. I am passionate about empowering the rural population, a majority of whom are livestock farmers which is only possible if livestock diseases are detected promptly and remedial action to contain infectious diseases is initiated effectively.  APCOVE provides a great platform to equip the veterinary workforce in the region to improve their epidemiology acumen. The response of the trainees who undertook the online training was very positive. After completing the online modules, they confirmed being more confident about outbreak investigations and data analysis. What makes APCOVE training stand out is its emphasis on development and practical implementation of leadership and communication in the animal health hierarchy in the participating countries. A sustained effort in honing the skills of the veterinary workforce in the region will help, not only in controlling infectious and emerging diseases, but also in enhancing animal production and improving the lives of livestock farmers in the region.

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