An international education programme launched by Massey University is bringing veterinarians and doctors together to fight diseases.
The World Bank has contracted the university to run the programme, which will initially train 67 public health specialists and veterinarians from South Asian countries in biosecurity measures and controlling disease oubreaks in both animals and humans.
Emeritus Professor of Animal Health Roger Morris, who was instrumental in setting up the course, says the need to train more people in Asia was already recognised but the sudden outbreak of H1N1, also known as swine flu, provided the impetus.
Professor Morris says South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan were chosen as the starting point because the courses can be taught in English.
There are plans to extend the programme to central Asia and possibly parts of South-east Asia.