World AMR Awareness Week: How ethnoveterinary medicines combat antimicrobial resistance

The biggest USP of ethnoveterinary medicines is that they can be prepared at home; simple ingredients of EVMs can work against several bovine ailments

By DTE Staff
Published: Saturday 26 November 2022

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has been recognised as a ‘silent pandemic’ and is a global public health threat for humans and animals. This video will be about animals.

More and more antibiotics are becoming ineffective, and infectious diseases are becoming difficult to treat due to this phenomenon. On November 21, 2022, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Down To Earth magazine, released a special report to mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW November 18-24).

The report, released during a webinar, is titled Ethnoveterinary medicine: An alternative to antibiotics for the dairy sector. This year, the theme of WAAW is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’.

Prevention implies the adoption of strategies and approaches that can reduce the need for antimicrobials. It provides a cost-effective and easy option to contain AMR, particularly for low- and middle-income countries.

The answer is Ethnoveterinary medicine or EVM. Ethnoveterinary medicine (EVM) involves the use of traditional / herbal preparations in treating diseases of cattle.

One of the biggest ongoing programmes on EVM in the Indian dairy sector is led by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). It launched the Mastitis Control Popularization Programme (MCPP) at Sabar Dairy back in 2014.

In 2016, it roped in Trans-Disciplinary University, Karnataka to explore the use of EVMs. This project spans eight states and 16 milk union and producer companies. Eventually, the programme went beyond Mastitis disease and is currently addressing 29 diseases.

The biggest USP of EVMs is that they can be prepared at home. Simple ingredients of EVMs can work against several bovine ailments. Many of these ingredients are easily available in Indian households.

Currently, it has gone beyond homemade preparations to packaged EVM products. Milk unions are manufacturing these products on a no-profit-no-loss basis and providing them to farmers registered with the dairy cooperative (Ethnovet Milma).

The private sector is also selling these as licensed products. And it seems to be working pretty well! The results say it all. From 2016 to October 2022, 7.8 lakh disease cases have been cured by EVMs at around 80 per cent cure rate.

To sum up, 4 out of 5 animals were cured using EVMs. This means access to safe milk for consumers, reduction in treatment expenses and improvement in the livelihood of farmers.

This we know for sure as the number of veterinary calls has reduced, lakhs of rupees have been saved on medical costs and the cost of antibiotics has reduced too.

The role of EVM in livestock development for the present and in the future is beyond dispute. Globally, scientists are elucidating the effects and action mechanisms of local and indigenous communities’ phytomedicines. It has proved to not only cure animals but also save farmers’ expenses and time.

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