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[6 January 2016] The two following publications related to biodiversity and health were showcased during the SBSTTA meeting:

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Intensification of crop and livestock production can improve food, nutrition, and income security; however, without sustainable resource management, intensification can also lead to increased agricultural-related health risks, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss. This is especially true in Southeast Asia, a region facing rapid economic growth. To address this complex challenge, a better understand of the interactions between agricultural practices, human health, and ecosystems are required.

The Field Building Leadership Initiative (FBLI), supported by IDRC, aims to explore linkages between intensive agricultural practices and human health in Southeast Asia.Developed jointly by research centres in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and launched in 2012, this five-year initiative allows researchers and their partners to carry out research, capacity building, policy advocacy and networking to inform agricultural practice and policy. Generating scientific evidence can help mitigate health risks while maintaining the socio-economic advantages of agricultural intensification.

1

Building regional research

The FBLI’s research process is guided by Ecohealth principles including transdisciplinarity, participation, social and gender equity, and knowledge-to-action. The FBLI team, working with stakeholders from the onset of research for over three years, have generated new knowledge and developed interventions to promote sustainable agricultural practices. As agriculture is an important source for livelihoods in the region, careful consideration was given towards exploring economic benefits associated with changing practices, as well as gender and social equity, and empowerment of vulnerable groups.

Four large research projects involving local and national stakeholders are currently being implemented:

China: In Yuanmou County, Yunnan province, researchers and stakeholders are investigating the impact of chemical pesticides used for vegetable and fruit production on the health of farmers and ecosystems. Pesticide residues were detected in vegetable and fruit samples, soil and water samples, and urine samples of adults and children. To improve the knowledge of farmers on risks of pesticide use and promote safe pesticide use, innovative street plays in six project villages were performed. Further, locally designed calendars and posters were distributed widely in the project site, reaching about 5,000 people. This research also revealed that despite the increase of large-scale vegetable and fruit plantations, agricultural worker’s occupational health was not adequately addressed by current health care policies and services. Researchers are working with these groups to advocate for addressing occupational health risks in healthcare agendas.

Vietnam: In Ha Nam province, the human health risks from exposure to biogas wastewater from pig farms are being explored. Biogas wastewater samples were found positive for four pathogens harmful to humans and exceeded national standards of wastewater. Health risk perceptions and practices of biogas use in the community were also assessed. As biogas systems are a common method to manage animal waste in Vietnam, researchers are implementing a set of interventions to promote good sanitation practices in the study area. Communication tools including booklets and flyers with information on how to best use the biogas have been distributed to 72 farms in the community. Key messages were also promoted in the community’s traditional regulation document “H??ng ??c”.

Thailand: Rubber plantations are rapidly expanding in Thailand and Southeast Asia leading to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, influx of labour workers, and changes in livelihoods. Research conducted in several districts of Chachoengsao province have showed a direct correlation between crop expansion and increased risk of vector-borne diseases (e.g., dengue, chikungunya and malaria) especially among rubber workers. An evaluation of 109 rubber plantations revealed biological and chemical contaminants in groundwater and other natural reservoirs due to heavy use of fertilizers and herbicides. Through collaborating with migrant workers, crop owners, health care providers, and other government officials, the team is developing intervention tools and strategies to mitigate health risks associated with rubber plantations.

Indonesia: Small scale dairy farms are important sources of income for farmers in several districts of Pangalengan, West Java. By applying an Ecohealth approach, researchers and farmers worked together to implement an intervention that converts farm waste into herbal feed supplements, worm casting, earthworm extract, and fertilizers to help support human and environmental health, as well as farmers’ income. These products have been lab and field tested, and are currently being used by livestock and crop farmers beyond Pangalengan. A business incubator has been formed to facilitate product commercialization. These products were used by over 230 farmers, and discussions with government officials are ongoing to promote eco-friendly agricultural products, allowing for sustained benefits associated with these interventions.

3

Sustaining Ecohealth practice

The FBLI’s capacity building supports the development of sustainable cohorts of Ecohealth practitioners and researchers. Ecohealth curricula have been integrated in four universities in Southeast Asia and a degree program in Ecohealth is currently being developed at Mahidol University in Thailand. The Future Leader Program, an annual program, aims to build leadership skills, global perspectives, and effective multi-sectoral collaboration of multidisciplinary professional groups. Since 2014, over 200 participants from ten Asian countries have participated in the Future Leader Program.

The integration of FBLI research results into agricultural management practices is testimony of the rigorous research efforts and productive engagement with relevant stakeholders. The FBLI also supports policy advocacy, for example through forming policy alliance groups in member countries consisting of mid-level policy makers, senior FBLI researchers and representatives from other regional networks. Future outcomes of FBLI will continue to strengthen the emerging field of Ecohealth research and practice, for the mitigation of health risks associated with agricultural intensification, while maintaining benefits.

For more information, please visit: www.ecohealthasia.net

 

[author]

Steven Lam |  lams@uoguelph.ca

Steven is the Knowledge Translation Coordinator for the Ecohealth Field Building Leadership Initiative in Southeast Asia (FBLI). The FBLI is a five year program (2012-2016), funded by IDRC, that aims to address human health problems associated with agricultural intensification and other challenges in Southeast Asia.

[/author] New York Giants Jersey

The President of IAEH visits Umnugobi Province in Mongolia while supervising Bolor Bold, a Mongolian medical doctor at the National Centre of Zoonotic Disease, working on echinococcosis control. Umnugobi, which is the southern part of the Gobi desert in Mongolia has one of the highest incidences of echinococcosis in Mongolia. The project aims to understand current treatment algorithms of echinococcosis and then to improve clinical care. At a later stage, control at the source is foreseen, but a better understanding of the disease ecology is necessary to recognize the most important reservoirs and intermediary hosts. For example, it is not currently known what role camels play in the transmission of echinococcosis.

 

[author]

Jakob Zinsstag  |  jakob.zinsstag@unibas.ch

Jakob Zinsstag is deputy head of department at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and President of the IAEH. He is interested in the health of mobile pastoralists and zoonoses control in Africa and Asia.  [/author] Anders Bjork Womens Jersey

Climate change is having and will continue to have a dramatic impact on global public health – from natural disasters and the increased spread of infectious disease to predicted crop losses and heat waves.

This course explores the impact of human activities on climate change and consequently public health, as well as the many real benefits to climate change mitigation. We will discover the multiple benefits – or co-benefits – provided by public policies and initiatives to reduce emissions. For example, protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse gases can simultaneously improve human health. Read more

EcoHealth Cover Volume 12, Issue 3 Thumbnail

EcoHealth Cover Volume 12, Issue 3 Thumbnail

Ecohealth 12.3 is out now! Read original contributions about community-based research and adenovirus in rural Côte d’Ivoire, Rickettsia felis in Mexico, neurobehavioral disorders in children exposed to toxic metal pollution, and more.

 

 

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As a part of continuing initiatives to increase the capacity of wildlife health professionals in developing bio-diverse countries, ZSL will be running a field course jointly with The Wildlife Institute of India and The University of Edinburgh from 2016. Read more

The Health and Environment Alliance will be hosting a series of webinars available through their website. For more information, visit their website hereDesmond Trufant Womens Jersey

This year the EcoHealth 2014 will be held in Montréal from August 11th to 15th, 2014

THEMES will be:
EcoHealth conferences are characterized by being open to innovative ways of thinking within and beyond academia and by encouraging transdisciplinary, integrated approaches to health that consider humans, animals and other species. For researchers, educators, practitioners and decision-makers, EcoHealth conferences provide a range of opportunities to foster connections among diverse disciplines and approaches. Read more

People, our fellow creatures and our mutual planet need our urgent attention in the face of global environmental change. The ecohealth community recognizes that global climate change and its impacts are profound issues requiring definitive action. This statement is a call to action on climate change for the ecohealth community in conjunction with others similarly committed to the health and wellbeing of humans, animals and environments.

The call is to build upon the strengths of ecohealth to make sustained efforts by integrating understanding, sharing insights and tools, and taking practical steps and coordinated actions. The statement is intended as a stepping-stone within a growing momentum that connects diverse current and future actions to respond to climate change, and orients collective efforts to a combined focus on connections for health, ecosystems and society.

For more informations please visit:
http://ecohealth-live.net
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Welcome to the 5th Biennial Conference of the International Association for Ecology and Health. The agenda for the Biennial General Meeting can be found here. Voting for the 2014 Biennial Election will take place during the BGM and the nominees can be viewed here. If you will not be able to attend the BGM, you may designate someone else as a proxy.  Deven Marrero Womens Jersey