March 28, 2023
One Health project to bolster Philippines' animal disease surveillance
A new One Health research project in the Philippines will strengthen animal disease surveillance capacity against health security threats that severely impact the country's livestock industry.
Led by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), the project will improve policy and governance support for disease detection of African swine fever (ASF), avian influenza (AI) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
These diseases are some of the most prevalent animal health threats in the Philippines. Recent outbreaks of ASF and AI have disrupted food supply and increased production costs for smallholder communities dependent on livestock for food and income security.
The three-year project is funded through a new One Health co-investment between ACIAR and Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The project will utilise current socio-economic and socio-ecological system (SES) assessment approaches to One Health.
Project leader Dr. Yusuf Sucol said the research team will work with government agencies, the livestock industry, farmers and local communities to analyse the links, gaps and effectiveness of disease surveillance, control and emergency measures against these three priority areas for the Philippines to inform better practices.
"Scientific data and research from this project will serve as evidence and inputs to decision-making to support ASF, AI and AMR management and programmes," said Dr. Sucol. "The findings will assist in improving animal husbandry practices, farm operation standards and compliance standards to protect and promote animal, human and environmental health."
The data gathered will also contribute to developing a One Health Innovation Framework in the Philippines, which will include formulating and testing a One Health algorithm or One Health biosecurity measure for ASF, AI and AMR.
ACIAR research programme manager Dr. Anna Okello said the diseases being studied in the new project are priorities for the Philippines and many other countries in the Southeast Asia region.
"ASF, AI and AMR continue to be significant challenges for livestock industries in the region," said Dr. Okello. "This new research project in the Philippines aims to create a more sustainable animal industry and health system that are risk-informed, adaptive and responsive to the country's agriculture sector."
The project is one of four new research initiatives supported through the ACIAR/IDRC Research Program on One Health (AIRPOH).
The initiative is funding leading researchers throughout East and Southeast Asia to demonstrate and promote the benefits of how a One Health approach can improve agrifood systems and overall health security.
The project is scheduled to run until the end of 2025.
- The National Tribune