The Co-Principal Investigators of the Health for Animals and Livelihood Improvement (HALI) project, the mothership to which my calf study belongs, gave a really nice overview of the HALI project’s background, goals, and preliminary results this summer at the Global Livestock CRSP‘s End of Program Conference “From Problem Models to Solutions” on June 17th 2009 in Naivasha Kenya. The Co-PIs, Professors Jon Erickson of the University of Vermont and Rudovick Kazwala of the Sokoine University of Agriculture, have been very helpful during the course of my study, and it was great to see them in Naivasha. As thanks (though Jon will probably kill me for it), I uploaded their slides and the audio I captured in Naivasha to slideshare as a SlideCast, a nice interactive tool allowing you to sit on your sofa at home with a cool glass of Chimay, and absorb the intrigue of academic lectures. Sweet memories of the university are nurutured by each click of the slideshow…. Plus, Kaz give me a shout-out on Slide 27: “…one master’s student from UC Davis, which is David here, [pointing at me as I acknowledge the audience and nod over the recording equipment],” so you gotta check it out!
Now, without further ado, allow Drs. Erickson and Kazwala to present:
“The One Health Approach to Solve Complex Problems and Improve Livelihoods at the Human-Livestock-Wildlife Interface”
Questions from the audience are almost unintelligable in the audio, so I listed them here below. The full presentation will be included as an article in the upcoming GL-CRSP End of Program Conference Proceedings, edited by yours truly, to be released in early 2010…
What did you mean by the environment, as to where the diseases come from? Why?
The environment largely concerns water, but also other vectors, like flies, wildlife and so on. As to why we are seeing a resurgence of disease due to a water scarcity, we need to consider the wetlands, which serve as a sponge. If the wetlands were not there, the water would flow out and dry up the entire ecosystem. During the dry season the water slowly trickles out of the wetlands and provides water for the ecosystem. And so one of the driving factors is the effect of grazing pressure on compromising these wetlands. After the removal of pastoralists from these areas, they’ve seen a rebound in wetlands and also in water provision during the dry season.
Given evidence for the linkages, how do you propose to tackle them?
We propose to tackle them through a One Medicine [One Health] approach. The concept is to create a bridge across the three populations: veterinary teams, medical teams, and other teams integrated to deal with the questions. The diseases [zoonotic diseases] in the lab are all the same diseases. Teams need to work in the same environment and in the same lab on the same diseases. We need better integration and common interest. This is the case of the One Health approach. Other things to look at are landscape and bio-regulatory function. Eco system services for example are very critical in this role, and water and health are very intertwined at the landscape scale.