AsianScientist (Oct. 21, 2011) – Pfizer Animal Health and The Resource Foundation announced this week the expansion of a comprehensive education and training program to increase the capacity, productivity, and quality of life of rural farmers in India and Latin America.
Pfizer Animal Health and the Pfizer Foundation have committed US$460,000 in 2011 to this program, which will include 7,250 farmers and their families through the program’s expansion to India’s Madhya Pradesh, Mathura, Orissa, Uttar Pratesh, and Rajasthan states.
In Latin America, more than 3,000 farmers and their families will benefit from the program.
Improving animal health is crucial in rural communities where farming is the economic engine. For small family farms with only a few animals, the loss of just one animal to disease can threaten the well-being of the entire family.
Through this integrated educational initiative, farmers at the base of the economic pyramid acquire advanced animal husbandry skills while each family member also learns basic personal health and hygiene skills.
“A significant reason why small rural livestock farmers do not improve their economic status is that they lack training to efficiently produce, administer and sell their milk, beef, and eggs,” said Marcela Lopez-Macedonio, executive director of The Resource Foundation.
Persistent poverty, Lopez-Macedonio said, can lead to a cascade of hardships, namely malnutrition and limited access to basic health services or education.
“Animal health and human health are closely connected,” said Joyce Lee, area president – Canada and Latin America Region, Pfizer Animal Health.
Lee noted that approximately 70 percent of the diseases known to affect humans are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and humans.
Pfizer Animal Health’s collaboration with The Resource Foundation is one element of its global commitment to advance veterinary medicine practice and research, improve animal health, help prevent the spread of emerging zoonotic diseases and, in so doing, help improve human health.