As Southeast Asia (SEA) is characterised by high human and domestic animal densities, growing intensification of trade, drastic land use changes and biodiversity erosion, this region appears to be a hotspot for complex dynamics of zoonotic diseases emergence and health issues at the animal-human-environmental interface.
Assessing and managing the related risks must take into account ecological and social environmental dynamics at play in relation to epidemiological patterns. It also implies taking into account institutional constraints and potential coordination gaps across sectors and institutions. In other words, it calls for a One Health approach taking into account dynamics at the society/environment interface.
The implementation of such an approach in this context implies improved integration among disciplines and improved cross-sectoral collaboration involving stakeholders from different levels. For sure, such integration is not achieved spontaneously, and implies methodological guidelines.
ComAcross project proposes a methodology for implementing such collaboration in the SEA context throughout 3 components:
- Field-based action and data management
- Professional training workshops
- Higher education.
It intends to promote a new culture of networking involving actors from various disciplines, sectors and levels (from the municipality to the Ministries). These actors are involved in a participatory modelling process, fostering synergies and cooperation and dialogue, based on the combination of case studies, implementation and capacity building.
During the first year of implementation, and following a preparation phase for the set-up of the consortium and of the coordination unit, the implementation of ComAcross activities in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia has started.
After a successful kick-off meeting allowing the presentation of our action plan and our methodology, with a focus on the participatory approaches (ComMod, PE) we are relying on, we made progress on the preparation of our 4 case studies with regional and national partners.
Proposals, diagrams of interactions and road maps have been drafted in order to enable the implementation, in Year 2, with local stakeholders. Training activities have also started with cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary perspectives. In parallel, we have participated in several scientific and institutional meetings involving key “One Health” stakeholders in SEA, who have been informed about ComAcross action.