March 16, 2023


New project aims to explore drivers of livestock diseases in Southeast Asia



A new project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and International Development Research Centre aims to explore the socio-economic drivers of diseases in livestock in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Laos, Mirage News reported.


Dr Rico Ancog from the University of the Philippines Los Baos' School of Environmental Science and Management said most current approaches focus primarily on the epidemiological aspects of disease. As a result, there are information gaps in understanding socioeconomic drivers in the larger agroecological system.


Dr Ancog said it is critical to fill these gaps because they represent the human and environmental dimensions of livestock production and disease. The project aims to better understand community perceptions of animal diseases within their agroecological contexts, as well as the motivators for farmers to use different disease control strategies in the future.


Dr Ancog also said the project takes a One Health approach to comprehend the relationship between animal health, livestock production economics, and environmental and public health.


Understanding the relationship between animals, humans, and the environment in terms of habitat, food, and water, as well as environmental risk, is necessary for livestock production. This creates a unique dynamic of disease transmission between livestock and humans within a specific environment.


The project will also look at the factors that limit and facilitate the adoption and implementation of One Health initiatives in Southeast Asia, said Dr Ancog.


He said using a One Health assessment may help researchers to better understand whether such integrated assessment frameworks could lead to more effective interventions for the livestock industry, adding that there is enormous potential for the assessment to be a foundation for both short-term and long-term planning once it is executed properly.


From a methodological standpoint, the project will be very important. The implementation of One Health initiatives is a topic of growing interest. Various research methodologies will be combined, and then the data collection system and analyses will be used.


Engaging stakeholders at the local, national, and regional levels is a crucial component of this project, according to Dr Anna Okello, the ACIAR Research Program Manager for Livestock Systems.


This project can develop a large-scale spatiotemporal understanding of relevant socioeconomic and environmental factors that influence decision-making in livestock production and trade, which will be tailored to relevant governance and legislative actions at each level by evaluating each case study through the lens of a common set of endemic diseases.


With regard to the South-East Asian region, Dr Okello said this approach will also identify the geographic and cultural fragmentations that impede a unified One Health effort.


The goal of the project is to assist Southeast Asian stakeholders in reducing the severity and impact of zoonotic and transboundary animal diseases in livestock. It will use a range of research techniques to accomplish this.


Dr Okello said among the key outputs of this project are a number of community development initiatives to improve their comprehension of the potential for more comprehensive approaches to smallholder livestock production and disease control.


The project is one of four new research initiatives funded by the ACIAR/IDRC Research Programme on One Health (AIRPOH), a brand-new initiative launching throughout South-East Asia that will encourage a cooperative and multi-sectoral approach to improve the health of people, animals, and the environment.


The project is scheduled to run until the end of 2025. More information can be found on the ACIAR website.


-      Mirage News

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