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International Animal Health Charity - “GALVmed” Expands Operations in South Asia

March 29, 2011 - New Delhi, Delhi, India

GALVmed, a UK-based animal health charity which has previously focused mostly on Africa, is now poised to significantly increase its activities in South Asia.

GALVmed aims to make livestock vaccines, diagnostics and medicines accessible and affordable to the millions for whom livestock is a lifeline in developing countries. Its main funders are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). Established in 2005, operations began in earnest in 2008 when the Gates Foundation and DFID jointly awarded a grant of US$28.5 million for GALVmed to focus initially on four diseases: East Coast fever, Rift Valley fever, Newcastle disease and Porcine Cysticercosis.

In April, 2010 GALVmed opened an office in New Delhi, its first in Asia, to support its up-and-coming South Asia programme. Also, in December GALVmed organised its first South Asia Regional Advisory Committee meeting in New Delhi.

Members of the advisory committee are drawn from Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka and it is chaired by Dr Narayan G Hegde. Dr Hegde is a rural development specialist and Ex-President of BAIF Development Research Foundation, a well regarded NGO that is committed to sustainable development of the rural poor. Dr Mamta Dhawan, GALVmed’s South Asia Programme Manager explained that “this committee will develop and guide our South Asia strategy and help drive the GALVmed agenda in the region.”

Currently GALVmed’s South Asia programme is focused on Newcastle disease (Ranikhet disease), a common viral disease of poultry, but activities will expand significantly during 2011. The advisory committee identified helminthiasis (worms) and hemorrhagic septicaemia, a major killer of cattle and buffaloes, as diseases that are particularly important in the region but not currently prioritised by GALVmed.

Steve Sloan, GALVmed’s CEO, said: “This is valuable local advice and will be added to the expert technical intelligence we also receive to assist the board and senior managers in building our business plan so we can work on securing the investment required."

Commenting on Dr Hegde’s appointment, Steve Sloan added: “Dr Hegde is an ideal choice as Chair of the South Asia Regional Advisory Committee. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge which will serve GALVmed well.”

Dr Hegde explained that his vision was “to make use of GALVmed’s knowledge to learn how to maintain the good health of the animal.”

Source: Business Wire India


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