The first ever short course on One Health and EcoHealth in Vietnam – hosted by the Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER) at the Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) – took place on 27-30 May 2013 in Hanoi.
While Vietnam is a part of the EcoHealth network in the Southeast Asia region, no formal EcoHealth training program existed in the country before the launch of this course.
EcoHealth is an emerging, multi-disciplinary field of study that examines how ecosystem changes affect human health so as to prevent new diseases from emerging.
The participants were an international, multi-disciplinary and multi-sector group drawn from various countries across the globe, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand, the United States of America and Vietnam.
The course, which was run by regionally based trainers, highlighted the conceptual framework of EcoHealth and One Health and its potential usefulness in advancing the agenda of public health. Specifically, activities generated from the workshop provided a chance to demonstrate how risk analysis can be used as a tool in developing strategies to prevent and control infectious diseases.
Through the introduction of concepts and didactic methods, application of case studies and participation in fieldwork, the course participants learned about the theory and major concepts of EcoHealth, and honed the skills necessary to apply the principles of One Health and EcoHealth in their respective fields of expertise.
Following the successful inception of One Health and EcoHealth training in Vietnam, CENPHER now plans to incorporate an EcoHealth course into a comprehensive and innovative public health training program. To do this, CENPHER will collaborate with various EcoHealth initiatives currently working in Southeast Asia, namely,
- the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)- funded project, EcoHealth approaches to the better management of zoonotic emerging infectious diseases in the Southeast Asia region;
- the Ecohealth Field-Building Leadership Initiative in Southeast Asia; and
- two EcoHealth Resource Centres in Chiang Mai University, Thailand and Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia.
Beyond the immediate successes of expanding the scope of EcoHealth concepts and applications, the community at HSPH and CENPHER hopes that the output of this workshop will mark the start of continued growth, sustained partnerships and lasting opportunities for collaborative learning.