February 01, 2013
In recent years tens of thousands of people have died—including more than 18,000 in the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic—of disease born from the interaction of people, animals, and ecosystems.
Outbreaks of swine flu, avian flu, and other zoonotic diseases could be stopped if authorities cooperated across borders and other barriers, DAI’s Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou told an audience February 1 at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference, which runs through February 2, has drawn more than 1,200 health and industry professionals addressing infectious disease.
Marguerite, DAI’s Senior One Health Technical Advisor, moderated “Enabling Policy Environments for a One Health Approach,” a frank discussion between public, animal, and environmental health experts and other officials who addressed jurisdictional lines, competing agendas, struggles for limited resources, and differing disciplinary cultures. Marguerite currently works on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s RESPOND project, which is the DAI-led component of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program, and coordinates with three other projects: PREDICT, PREVENT, and IDENTIFY.
Panel participants said progress relies on multiple jurisdictions, including public and private, health, agriculture, environment, labor, transportation, tourism, and others. Narrow approaches to fighting zoonotic diseases have proven ineffective, and outbreaks continue to emerge with humans frequently serving as sentinels.
This has resulted in continued loss of human life and livelihoods, compromised nutrition, stressed health delivery systems, and threatened wildlife and ecosystem health. According to the World Bank, the emergence of BSE (commonly known as mad cow disease), SARS, H5N1, and H1N1 caused more than $20 billion in direct economic losses over the last decade and much more than $200 billion in indirect losses.
DAI’s UK offices recently held a fundraiser on behalf of Street Child, a charity focused primarily on achieving universal access to education. The charity came to the attention of a DAI-led and U.K. Department for International Development-funded programme, Access to Security and Justice Programme (ASJP), in Sierra Leone.Read More