Curriculum change of Veterinary Sciences would address the zoonotic transmission of diseases in humans

The Veterinary Council of India (VCI) has decided to change the existing curriculum of Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry (BVScAH) to enable the students to devise ways to prevent the transmission of zoonotic diseases in humans.
As part of the curriculum revision, students would be motivated to pursue a specialisation in zoonotic diseases in the final year and made to do an internship in the same domain. This decision of VCI is a step towards strengthening the veterinary health infrastructure to control zoonotic diseases. The curriculum change is essential as specialisation would lead to a breakthrough in the zoonotic research base at the UG level itself.
Speaking to Education Times, Umesh Sharma, president, Veterinary Council of India (VCI), says, “It is essential to change the curriculum of BVScAH,
to enable future veterinarians to effectively treat diseases in animals which in turn, would also arrest the transmission of zoonotic diseases in humans. In addition to this, curriculum change is needed at this hour because about 75% of human diseases are of zoonotic origin. In the revised curriculum that would be taught from the 2023-24 session, the focus would be on training students to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases in humans and find their cures.” The curriculum change will allow students to study their chosen field of specialisation in the final year and do a year-long internship. “Some of the specialisations include pet practice, laboratory animal medicine, poultry veterinary medicine, Theriogenology and many other streams. After completing their graduation, students can also pursue research in clinical subjects related to Veterinary Sciences which have a great scope,” adds Sharma.
COVID has already created an urgent need to focus on the transmission of zoonotic diseases from animals to humans as it is believed that the COVID virus originated from the vet market in China’s Wuhan. “As per the definition of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the concept of ‘One Health’ is about collectively strengthening animal health, human health, and environmental health. This curriculum change is a step towards strengthening advanced veterinary health infrastructure in the country to find curative pathways for zoonotic diseases,” informs Sharma.
“Till now there are no set benchmarks to define the minimum standards of veterinary practice regulations. Hence, we have forwarded the minimum benchmark draft to the union government,” adds Sharma.