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DAHD and UNDP Sign MoU for Digitalization of Vaccine Cold Chain Management

New Delhi: The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD), Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India today, focusing on the digitalization of vaccine cold chain management, capacity building, and communication planning. The MoU was signed at the “We the People Hall,” UNDP Country Office, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi, by Alka Upadhyay, Secretary, DAHD, and Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in India.

This strategic partnership aims to enhance the digital infrastructure for vaccine cold chain management in India, crucial for increasing immunization coverage and outreach. Alka Upadhyay emphasized the importance of reliable cold chain equipment in strengthening supply chains, noting the significant challenge of catering to India’s vast population and livestock. She highlighted that India has 142.86 crore people, 53.57 crore farm animals, and 85.18 crore poultry, making efficient delivery of veterinary services vital for ensuring nutritional security.

The digitalization initiative will involve the Animal Vaccine Intelligence Network (AVIN) developed by UNDP, which will monitor the entire vaccine stock management system in real-time. This includes tracking vaccine stocks, flows, and storage temperatures to address supply inequities and manage infrastructure constraints. “New age technology and artificial intelligence will play a key role in monitoring the vaccine cold chain management process,” Upadhyay stated.

Caitlin Wiesen, while signing the MoU, pointed out the increasing vulnerability of animals and communities due to frequent zoonotic disease outbreaks and climate change. She emphasized that the partnership would strengthen India’s first animal vaccine supply chain management system, ensuring the protection of communities and animals while mitigating risks at the human-animal-environment interface.

Sarita Chauhan, Joint Secretary (LH), DAHD, explained that real-time monitoring of the vast cold chain infrastructure across the country would be enabled by new technology and AI through the system developed by UNDP. This will help manage and deliver vaccines in the right quantity, quality, and temperature, with supportive supervision.

The collaboration will focus on several key areas, including:

Strengthening animal health with a One Health approach.

Digitalizing and remotely monitoring the cold chain to ensure vaccines are stored at the prescribed temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius.

Supporting the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccination program, aiming to cover 50 crore large animals and 20 crore small animals.

Providing technical assistance to enhance animal husbandry practices.

Developing effective livestock insurance programs and communication plans.

Improving extension services and skill development initiatives for stakeholders in the animal husbandry sector.

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