The latest four-day workshop took place one month ago in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, at Gadjah Mada University, half a year after the first workshop in South Africa. It was co-organised by Gadjah Mada University's Prof. Wayan T. Artama and his team, and by an international taskforce composed of colleagues from ITM (Séverine Thys, Lai Jiang, Evelien Paessens, Marleen Boelaert) and voluntary collaborators from the Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi (Manish Kakkar, Pranab Chatterjee and Jessy Joseph).
This event was financially supported by ITM's Strategic Network of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Zoonoses (SNNDZ). In addition to the seven members of the taskforce, six participants from six different countries could also attend: Chandika Gamage from Sri Lanka, Fabiola Quesada from South Africa, Richard Akuffo from Ghana, Vivek Kattel from Nepal, Wayan Artama from Indonesia, Yitagele Terefe from Ethiopia. These six candidates were selected as “country investigators” through a call, and they will be trained to conduct the research in their respective countries on a voluntary basis and in addition to their daily work.
SNNDZ aims at promoting the next generation of scientists working on the control of NTDs and zoonoses. It has adopted the ‘One Health’ (OH) approach and also put particular emphasis on capacity strengthening for qualitative research.
After an online evaluation survey conducted among the members (2013), the members really wanted to give a concrete push to the promotion of the OH concept by supporting an innovative intersectoral control project and the development of original OH research activities.
In many countries it is not clear if and how the OH concept is addressed. Therefore, a central objective for the 2014-2016 period was to address knowledge gaps and systematically review (in a few selected countries) the available information on:
- how the priority areas of zoonoses research are identified;
- how the OH concept is handled at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in different countries.
The main objective of the international SNNDZ team is to come up with an innovative protocol and methods to implement the research. They aim to have the following set of outputs by the end of 2016:
- First study arm: Develop a more comprehensive understanding of the drivers and determinants of zoonotic diseases in the national and international contexts through systematic research activities aimed at unveiling the hidden variables that impact the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases.
- Second study arm: Develop a context-specific OH competency framework(s) to facilitate OH curriculum development for prioritized group(s) to carry out essential OH activities with the aim of having better disease prevention and control outcomes.
- Dissemination of the results among the stakeholders in each country
- Presentations at the International OneHealth/EcoHealth Congress in Melbourne
- Peer-reviewed publications
"Being the SNNDZ coordinator for six years, I realize the incredible potential of a network in general and in particular this one! It is not just about gathering people on a mailing list but about allocating time and space to share knowledge, to elaborate novel projects, to raise awareness, to understand and identify research needs and priorities, to support each other, to think outside of the box, to work with people from other disciplines, and to find adequate solutions together to specific health problems," comments researcher Sevérine Thijs, one of the main organisers.
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