ILRI scientists Hung Nguyen and Johanna Lindahl (fifth and sixth from right) at a One Health/EcoHealth seminar on capacity building in India (photo credit: Public Health Foundation of India).
One Health and EcoHealth approaches have gained a foothold in Southeast Asia in recent years, especially in Vietnam. In India, One Health/EcoHealth approaches have also been adopted, and the goal of the agencies and research institutes in the country is to strengthen capacity building for those involved in the livestock sector, particularly smallholder farmers, to respond to threats of zoonotic diseases.
To promote One Health/EcoHealth mainstreaming in India, two scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently participated in two seminars in New Delhi to share their research experiences that can be useful for India’s efforts at mainstreaming One Health/EcoHealth capacity building in the country.
Hung Nguyen-Viet, ILRI acting regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, food safety scientist and One Health/EcoHealth researcher, shared experiences from Vietnam in a seminar on ‘Mainstreaming of One Health capacity building in India’ which was organized by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) at India Habitat Centre (IHC) on 22 July 2016.
Nguyen said the Vietnam and Southeast Asia experience of implementing One Health and EcoHealth programs stressed the importance of having strong capacity to respond to emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). ‘This can be done by strengthening the capacity of professionals working in the human, animal and environmental health sectors to control and prevent EID outbreaks’, he said.
According to Nguyen, Vietnam has established One Health Partnership for Zoonoses (OHP), which is expected to control zoonoses through local, regional and global research collaboration.
Johanna Lindahl, a veterinary epidemiologist at ILRI, explained the challenges of setting up an EcoHealth curriculum in universities at the same event including the need for effective coordination of faculties of human medicine, veterinary medicine and environmental science in implementing EcoHealth program. She also said there would be need to address funding challenges in relation to translation of research into results which donors expect.
‘But the benefits of applying EcoHealth principles, such as the close collaboration of inter-related disciplines, that provide solutions to move from research to action, far outweigh the challenges’, Lindahl added.
Earlier (19 July) Hung Nguyen visited the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Asia office where he shared his experience as a One Health/EcoHealth researcher from Vietnam. He talked about how the Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER) at Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH) started from a postdoctoral project by Vietnamese researchers in partnership with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute under the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North–South program. He said that embedding CENPHER in a research and training institution has created an academic base, a bigger network and an increased capacity for reaching research experts in the country and globally, which has enabled more research project generation and capacity building.
According to Nguyen, a similar model could be adopted in India to make mainstreaming of One Health/EcoHealth easier.
For more information about One Health in India, visit On the Fringes, a knowledge management platform on peri-urban human–animal–environment interface, for videos, photos and other information related to the IHC meeting.
Download a research brief summarizing One Health/EcoHealth research highlights in Southeast Asia.
See a related article on One Health capacity building in Vietnam.