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Veterinary Research & Disease Investigation Center Balogram, Swat


GENERAL HISTORY, INTRODUCTION, IMPORTANCE OF THE STATION

Preamble

Livestock sector in Pakistan also plays an important role in development of agriculture in rural areas and adds a lot to the national economy. It has an important role in poverty alleviation but due to lack of modern diagnostic facilities, unawareness of modern livestock management techniques and veterinary research a lot of problems are in front of livestock farmers.

Veterinary Research and Disease Investigation Center (VR&DIC) Balogram, Swat was established in the year 1988-89 with the objectives to provide quality diagnostic services, conduct field oriented research and supply quality vaccine to farmers of the area. Since establishment, the Center has been contributing enormously to achieve these mentioned objectives in a befitting manner.

Malakand Division is rich in livestock wealth and different systems of livestock rearing exit in the area. In recent past animals and poultry were primarily kept for subsistence but due to commercialization and increase in population intensive and extensive modern livestock and poultry farming is budding in the division.  These opportunities are providing jobs and are sources of income for local human population of the area. VR&DIC is playing a key role in bringing people towards modern livestock and poultry farming advisory and by providing training services. Lush green alpine and sub alpine pastures are abundant throughout the area providing excellent grazing for pastoral herds during summer. Fodder cultivation is practiced down the valleys. Traditionally, hay and crop residues are fed to livestock during winter due to non-availability of green fodder and grasses. Animals consume roughages and other poor quality feeds and convert them to high quality human food like meat, milk and eggs. They also give skins, wool, hair and other valuable products. Thus, these are contributing substantially to the economy of the area and the whole country. However, the local farmers are facing problems which are limiting livestock productivity. These include animal ailments and deaths, lack of adequate veterinary assistance, deficiency of feed during cold months of the year, lack of education/ training, poverty and other related hazards. Depletion of high land pastures due to overgrazing and deforestation is also alarming. Such issues and challenges need due public and private attention.

History of Establishment

Since the inception/establishment of VRI in the year 1949 in Peshawar, it was in a small building with limited staff and other essential infrastructure to undertake essential activities of research on livestock/poultry diseases, production of veterinary biologics/diagnostic agents apart from to meet the demand of the province, its function was to cope with the need across the country including the defense services, and supply to neighboring countries of Afghanistan and Iran etc as well, in cases of diseases outbreaks.

All such facilities were being extended from this unit at Peshawar (i.e. VRI) to the far flung areas of the province with tremendous problem. Consequently it was seriously felt that self supporting branches are needed to be established, including this at Saidu Sharif, Distt Swat. As an urgent action in this regard in the preliminary stages, for interim period till the planning and construction of self sufficient infrastructure, it was planned to depute a working unit from the VRI, Peshawar for the extension of the desired services to the livestock & poultry farmers.

Ultimately in the year 1984-85 with the view to extend research & diagnostic facilities and advisory services to livestock and poultry farmers/community of the far flung areas of the Province, divisional Veterinary Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VR&DL) headed by a Veterinary Officer (Research) were established temporarily at CVH, Saidu Sharif, Distt: Swat.


Infrastructure Development under Project Implementation

In the year 1986-87, a developmental scheme was approved in response to Deptt Sub Committee meeting held on Nov 12, 1986 from the ADP of the then Govt of NWFP (Agri; Forest and Cooperation Deptt) with three (03) years financial phasing for the establishment of VR&DL at Balogram, Swat on a land area of 06 K and 16 M (37022 Sq.Ft), with an approved cost of Rs. 3.830 millions. (Actual Cost = 4.050 Millions)

            Annual commencement of the project     Mar 1987

            Actual completion of the project                June 1989

            Completion Period                                       33 Months

After completion of the project during the year 1988-89, the centers was converted to non-developmental side on permanent basis (current expenditures), and had been working at Balogram, Distt Swat, headed by DD(R)/SRO (BPS-18) who acted as officer in charge under the admin control of the head quarter (i.e. director VRI Peshawar), for the extension of the desired services along with the provision of adequate vaccines storage facility round the year to meet the emergencies.


PC-I Objectives of Centre (PC-I titled “Estt of Diagnostic Lab at Saidu Sharif Swat.”).

According to the approved PC-I (FY 1986-87) of the project for the establishment of the centre titled “Establishment of Vety Research & Diagnostic Laboratory at Saidu Sharif, Swat, Malakand Division”, the objectives of the project preferable in quantitative terms are to;

  1.     Provides diagnostic services/facilities [(600 samples for bacterial, viral and parasitic exam) and (300 PM Exam) on monthly basis].

 to the livestock/poultry farmers and extension wing of the L&DD of entire Malakand Division.

  1.     Survey/studies field oriented problems to be systemically under taken which in fact could not be effectively taken and hand previously due to various financial and technical reasons.
  2.     Serve a storage for 0.15 mil doses of different biologics.
  3.     Poultry training courses will also be organized in order to encourage the poultry farming in the area with the co operation of extension wing of the Deptt.


Up-gradation

In order to accomplish the divisional demands, during the financial year 2006-07 to 2008-09, the provincial Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa approved a scheme titled “Up-gradation of VR&DL to Veterinary Research Station (North), Balogram, Swat” with a total cost of Rs. 20.000 Millions to upgrade the centre to cope with the desired extended needs of the area.

During the centre’s life extended from the 1984-85 since its establishment through 2005-06, means the period lapsed since it’s establishment as a unit, the following projects has been approved and under taken out in the center as detailed below.

 

LIST OF PROJECTS UNDER TAKEN IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATION

S#

PROJECT TITLE

FY

FUNDING

SOURCE

IN-CHARGE/

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

1

2

3

4

1

“Taxonomical studies of the prevalent ticks species on different livestock hosts throughout NWFP”

2005-06

2007-08

ALP (AREF)

PARC, Islamabad.

Dr. S. Rahimullah Shah

2

“Up-gradation of VR&DL to Veterinary Research Station (North), Balogram, Swat“.

2006-07 to

2008-09

Provincial ADP.

Dr. S. Rahimullah Shah


Geographical Location of the Center

The center is easily approachable and is located on kalam bypass (hardly at a furlong distance from Balogram chowk) at a distance of 05 Kilometers South-West of Mingora City, the main city of the district adjacent to the divisional headquarter Saidu Sharif, Swat. Geographically, this is a central point of Malakand Division. Malakand Division includes the districts of Swat, Lower and Upper Dir, Buner, Shangla, Chitral and Malakand Agency. The fascinating location of the Center on Thakhtaband (Kalam) bypass road is reflecting the splendid valley. Lush green fields and sky kissing hills in the surroundings are looking very charming. A new block recently constructed has added to the outlook of the station. These natural panoramas are making a better working environment for disposing of technical activities/services of the organization is equally substantial.

 

Importance of the Center

Veterinary Research & Disease Investigation Center, Balogram, Swat being pioneer of its sort in the north of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and a unique center in the entire Malakand Division has the mandate to conduct quality research of prevailing animal issues, provide diagnostic services for livestock, pet animals and wild life department of the entire Malakand division. Malakand Division comprises of Districts of Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir (lower), Dir (Upper), Chitral and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) Malakand Agency. At present the Center comprises two divisions namely; Division of Infectious Diseases and Division of Non- Infectious Diseases, dealing with the Microbiological aspects and Parasitology and nutritional disease/disorders respectively. Each division comprising of two sections headed by a Research Officer, under the supervision of a divisional in charge, Senior Research Officer.

In addition to the routine diagnostic and research programs of the center, these divisions have been extending research facilities in various relevant disciplines of microbiology and parasitology to the graduates and undergraduates students and postgraduate scholars of different universities including;

University of Agriculture, Peshawar

Sindh Agriculture University (SAU), Tandojam

University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), Lahore

Hazara University, Mansehra

University of Swat

University of Malakand, and

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, sheringal.

Results of the research, so undertaken are published in the form of thesis and/or research papers in various scientific journals of national and international interests.

Quality vaccines are being procured and stored at Veterinary Research and Disease Investigation Center, Swat for provision to the farmers of the area. The center is also extending excellent diagnostic services and imparting basic trainings to the interested farmers. Sub centers in Tehsil Matta and kabal are also providing diagnostic services to the farmers.  We are coordinating and collaborating with a number of NGOs i.e. International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Relief International (RI), universities and other public and private sector organizations.  Research regarding field issues is encouraged through involvement of postgraduate students of various national universities. The scientists of the organization are keen in planning and formulating research proposals for future implementation.

 

Main activities of the Center

    1.   Research activities.

    2.   Disease Diagnosis.

    3.   Assisting VRI for Vaccine Supply in Malakand Division

    4.   Out reach activities like Farmers awareness camps, field days etc.

    5.   Advisory services.                     

    6.   Collaborative and linkages with universities and Govt: departments and other organization.


FUNCTIONS OF THE CENTER

The center has been working for the uplift of their main functions as follow.

i.     To produce and supply biological products and diagnostic agents for the prevention, control, and diagnosis of important livestock and poultry diseases. 

ii.     Undertaking research and disease investigations on animal diseases.

 

MANDATE

According to Rules of Business-1985 Schedule-II [Rules-3(3) & Rules 9(4)(i)], the function of business of livestock Deptt are set as;

1).  Improvement of Livestock.

2).  Prevention of animal diseases.

3).  Veterinary Trainings and Research.

4).  Prevention of cruelty to animals.

5).  Zoological Survey.

Mandate of Veterinary Research Institute & its Regional Centers across the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is as follow.

  1.     Animal Biodiversity.
  2.     Research in Livestock Biotechnology
  3.     Transfer of Technology through training and publication.
  4.     Production of Biologics and Diagnostic Reagents against prevalent disease of economic importance.
  5.     Epidemiological survey and control of Zoonotic diseases.
  6.     Research in animal health and production to enhance Livestock and poultry productivity.

 

The policies framed and implementation under these objectives of livestock development are targeted at achieving the self-reliance and improvement of productivity of animal products i.e. milk, meat etc are;

i.      attending disease outbreak in field for proper diagnosis in Malakand Division.

ii.    to exploit the livestock/poultry potentials for their products and by products.

ii. toenhance per caput productivity of existing livestock/poultry resources through of new technologies development and farming methods of improved management practice.

iii. to decrease import of milk and dairy products by promoting substitution with inland production.

iv. ensuring credit availability for livestock/poultry farmers, especially the landless ones, Improving the infrastructure of livestock marketing.

v. strengthening of livestock institutions along with improving their inter linkages/ coordination. etc.

 

Mission

It is being planned to upgrade this station to the level of institute servicing the public in the North as a full pledged institution to meet the future demands for the uplift of the regional economy.


SANCTIONED STAFF STRENGTH

Category #

DESIGNATION

(Post Nomenclature)

BPS

Sanctioned Strength

1

2

3

1.

Regional Director /

Principal Research Officer

19

01

2.

Senior Research Officers

18

02

3

Research Officers

17

07

4

Computer Operator

16

01

5

Office Assistant

16

01

6

Senior Clerk

14

01

7

Junior Clerk

11

03

8

Lab: Technician

10

02

9

Laboratory Assistant

06

05

10

Driver

04

02

11

Laboratory Attendant

03

12

13

Electrician

03

01

14

Naib Qasid

03

03

15

Chawkidar

03

05

16

T.Well Operator

03

01

17

Mali

03

01

18

Sweeper

03

03

TOTAL

51

 


ACTIVITIES

Main activities being carried out at the center are;

1.   Research activities.

2.   Disease Diagnosis.

3.   Vaccine procurement and onward supply to the users in Malakand Division.

4.   Outreach activities like camps, field days for farmer awareness etc.

5.   Advisory services.

6.   Collaborative research activities and linkages with universities and Govt Deptt.

 

Research Surveys Conducted

    1.      Sampling of fishes from entire river swat in disease outbreak along with the team of researchers from NIBGE, Faisalabad.

    2.      Sampling from Gabrali breed of cow in entire swat along with the team of researchers from NIBGE, Faisalabad.

    3.      Sampling of milk from milk points for adulterants analysis.

 

Farmer Trainings

Trainings is one of the mandatory services to be provided to farmers/extension workers on modern practices livestock and poultry farming/production.

 

Free Veterinary Camping/Field days

In order to create a social awareness regarding the needs of disease diagnosis in the public, this activity on the analogy of extension work got an immense importance for farmers and the researchers as well to;

  1. Understand on farm situation
  2. Generate research ideas
  3. Producing inter linkages between farmers & researchers and thus confidence building
  4. Receiving feedback for better and in time analysis. etc.

 

Advisory Services

Diagnostic services for various diseases of ruminants, monogastric animals including pets and poultry are provided to farmers for timely and accurate diagnosis of diseases. 

Livestock and poultry farmers visit this station for seeking expert opinions.

Researchers from this centre also visit livestock and poultry farms for giving their expert opinions.

 

RESEARCH TRIALS


Completed

1.    Isolation and identification of microbes from contaminated bhk-21 cell lines using API 20 strip (Biomeriux, France). (completed)

Dr. Azizullah Noor, Hazara university, Mansehra

2.    Isolation and identification of salmonella spp from dead poultry birds, poultry meat, eggs and personal involved with poultry using api 20 strip (biomeriux, france). (completed)

Mr. Sadeeq Akbar, University of Swat.

3.    Isolation and identification of fungal species from freshwater fishes of river swat and its associated hatcheries and farms. (completed)

Mr. Saifullah, University of Swat.

4.    Genetic characterization of kutta sheep in valley swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. (Completed)

Dr. Naveed ullah, University of Agriculture, Peshawar.

5.    Microbial, nutritional & adulterants analysis of milk collected from different milk selling points of distric, swat. (completed)

Mr. Misbah, Mr. Israr and Mr. Hamayyun, University of Swat.

6.    Effect of yeast “saccharomyces cervicii” on milk produ and composiyion in dairy duffalo at district swat. (on-going)

Mr. Adnan Saeed, University of Agriculture, Peshawar.

7.    Zoonotic aspects of tuberculosis, salmonellosis and brucellosis.

8.    Evaluation of efficacy of BaCl2 (Barium Chloride) assay for pregnancy testing from urine in cattle/buffaloes.

9.    Determination of Coliform Counting of Drinking Water From Springs And Well.

10. Clinical Confirmation of Paratuberculosis From Feacal Samples of Cattles/Buffaloes Through Acid Fast Staining.

11. Detection of Tick Borne Pathogens (Theileria Spp, Anaplasma Spp And Babesia Spp Etc) In Blood Obtained From Cross Bred Catlles And Indigenous Cattles/Buffaloes


Ongoing

1.    Isolation of entero-pathogenic bacteria from branded and unbranded milk.

2.    Characterization of bacterial pathogens from fishes of river Swat.

3.    Isolation of zoonotic pathogens from various animals

 

Achievements ?

1.    Establishment of Biosafety Level – II (BSL-II) Laboratory facility in 2015.

2.    New tests facility have been developed during the year 2015-16

      Water Coliform Count Test for House-Well, Tube-Well & Water Reservoir.

      Pregnancy Diagnosis in Animals using Urine.

      Establishment of serological tests for zoonotic diseases like; Salmonellosis, Toxoplasmosis and Brucellosis.

      Tests for Milk Adulterants analysis and composition.

      Out breaks attendance.

3.    Establishment of API strips for identification of Microbial Pathogens.

 

Research Publications

1.    Genetic diversity of endangered sheep breed of valley Swat, Pakistan, based on microsatellite analysis. Naveed Ullaha, Muhammad Tariq Zeb*b, Sohail Ahmada, Mirza Ali Khand, Muhammad Tahir Khane,  Sibghat ullahc, Muhammad Nauman-ul-Islamf, Azizullah Noorg, Ihsanullah Khanf, Ihsan uddinb, Muhammad Idreesi. American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences (ASRJETS) (2016) Volume 23, No 1, pp 172-184. Impact factor 0.296

2.    Physico-chemical, Microbiological parameters and Adulteration in Processed Dairy Products in Pakistan. Sibghat Ullaha, Muhammad Tariq Zeb*b, Muhammad Ayazc, Muhammad Tahir Khand, Siraj Ahmada, Aziz Ullah Noore, Kausar Zebd, Farman Ullahe, Baitullah Khana, Muhammad Nauman-ul-Islamh, Naveed Ullahi, Ihsanullah Khanf, Faizul Hassanb, Ihsan uddinb, Haneefur Rehmana, Faiza Ashrafa. American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences (ASRJETS) (2016)  Impact factor 0.296

3.    In-vitro Susceptibility of FMD Virus Serotype A Endemic in KPK, Pakistan. Khush Bakht Mehreena, Muhammad Tariq Zebb*, Muhammad Bilalc, Mirza Ali Khand, Muhammad Tahir Khane, Sibghatullahf, Baitullah Khang, Muhammad Nauman-ul-Islamh, Azizullah Noori, Ihsanullah Khanj, Hafiz Muhammad Alik, Anosh Abidl, Muhammad Rizwanm. American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences (ASRJETS) (2016) Volume 23, No 1, pp 172-184. Impact factor 0.296

4.    Antimicrobial Activity of Ethanol and Ethyl Acetate Extracts of Roots Adiantum Capillus- Veneris. Muhammad Bilal1, Muhammad Tahir Khan2, Shahid Hussain2, Muhammad Tariq Zeb3, Muhammad Bilal4 and Medrar Hissain1. JRLMC VOL .4 NO.1 JAN – JUN 2015. P. 43-48.

5.    Evaluation of potency for Foot & Mouth Disease serotype-A oil based vaccine in guinea pigs. Muhammad Tariq Zeb, Muhammad Tahir Khan, Muhammad Bilal, Mirza Ali Khan, Baitullah Khan. J. of Anim. Health. Produc. 23 (1): 1-8, 2015.

 

FUTURE PLAN/VISION

In future, this institution is planning to improve its organizational structural by introducing/ incorporating the following new sections, needed to be established in the existing structure of the center.

However, the list of activities mentioned below either undertaken or are being undertaken varying from time to time based on need and facilities availability, are to be kept continued along with other facilities inclusion and further improvement in the existing. 

i.      Conducting field/problem oriented research in veterinary field for the prevention, control, and/or partial eradication of livestock and poultry diseases through in time supply of vaccines to the extension wing and farmers.

ii.    Providing advisory services to livestock, poultry farmers, and extension workers.

iii.   Providing diagnostic facilities to the veterinarians, poultry and livestock owners.

iv.   Producing/using different biologics/reagents against major infectious/ contagious diseases of livestock and poultry.

v.    Arranging different events for capacity building of the farmers and field practitioners.

vi.   Providing diagnostic/ research facilities regarding zoonotic diseases.

vii.  Supervising and assisting postgraduate research scholars in their thesis and the universities in academic research.

viii.Extending diagnostic services to the wildlife and fisheries Deptts.

ix.   Extending technical and advisory services to peasantries of wild life and fisheries Deptt in Malakand Division.

x.    Using animal biotechnology in animal health and production.

xi.   Controlling of Poultry and Livestock diseases of economic and zoonotic importance.

xii.  Enhancing livestock productivity per unit/caput, targeted at poverty alleviation, women development and improvement in human diet.

xiii.Developing human resource for generating self-employment and capacity building for establishing commercial enterprises.

xiv.Cooperation with wildlife, health and other Deptt in areas of common interest.

 

a).  Centre of Milk Adulterants Research And Analysis (CoMARA)

b). Center of Excellence in Microbiology And Biotechnology (CEMAB)

c).  Center of Zoonotic Diseases And Vety Public Health CoZAPH / One Health Unit (OHU)

d). Center of Parasitic And Nutritional Diseases (CoPAND)

e).  Center for Res ON Theriogenology (CONTg)

 

a). Centre of Milk Adulterants Analysis and Research (CoMAAR)

 

b). Center of Excellence in Microbiology And Biotechnology (CEMAB)

This center will focus on research regarding infectious, contagious diseases of small ruminants (PPR, CCPP, Enterotoxaemia, Pasteurollosis and enzootic abortion in sheep etc), large ruminants (Mastitis, FMD and HS etc) will be conducted. The post mortem examinations of dead animals brought to this center are routinely carried out throughout the year. Tentative diagnoses are made based on post mortem findings. The center has the facilities for fundamental microbiological techniques like isolation and identification of microbes and characterization by biochemical tests using Rapid on strip and API-20E and API-20NE (BioMeriuex, France). But there are no facilities in this center for confirmatory diagnosis through PCR or ELISA. The specimens suspected are taken and transported to the head quarter (Veterinary research Institute, Peshawar) for confirmatory diagnosis. To overcome this issue in Malakand division, suspected specimens will be processed through PCR and ELISA and confirmatory diagnosis will be made over here. PCR and ELISA based diagnosis of important line PPR and CCPP will be developed for small ruminants here in this center. Diagnosis of FMD through PCR and ELISA will be established for large animals. PCR facility using specific primer sequences (contagious mastitogens like Streptococcus aureus and Streptococcus aglactiae) for diagnosis will be developed for mastitis in dairy animals 

c). Center of Zoonotic Diseases And Vety Public Health CoZDAVPH / One Health Unit (OHU) 

Where the research on pathogens of zoonotic importance will be conducted. Brucellosis, Salmonellosis, Tuberculosis/Para-tuberculosis and toxoplasmosis. The farmers rearing sheep and goat population are facing problems of enzootic abortion. The center is providing facility for Sero-prevalence of Brucella abortus/ melitensus, toxoplasma gondii through slide agglutination test for diagnosing the cause of abortions in sheep/goat flocks. Moreover salmonella are isolated from poultry and poultry products through fundamental microbiological procedures. The slants are prepared from these microbes which can be further characterized through molecular techniques like PCR. This center will be established to work on these pathogens for to see the dynamics of these pathogens and to establish the relationship and pathway of zoonosis. Such types of approach will be helpful for the integrity of One Health Concept to ensure the safety of animal health, human health and environment.

d). Center of Parasitic And Nutritional Diseases (CoPAND)

Where research on important parasitic diseases of animals along with major emphasis of vector borne diseases like Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Trypnosomiasis and Theileriosis etc.  Important diseases of poultry like AI, ND, IB, IBD, ILT etc will be dealt in this center. Moreover the facilities for finding out the titer of antibodies in the serum against important poultry diseases will be established to facilitate the poultry farmers of the entire Malakand division.

e). Center of Theriogenology (CoTg)

Where animals’ reproductive physiology will be studies through B-Mode ultra-sonography in small animals and hormonal assays will be performed for large animals. These studies will be prospective for development of in vitro embryo transfer technology. Moreover reproductive disorders will also be easily diagnosed in this center. 

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