“One Health” in Lao PDR: from Concept to Practice


September 13, 2021
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H5N1, NIPAH, SARS, MERS, COVID are unknown pathogens which could emerge at any time and in any place, and without warning, threatening the health of Lao populations.  Emerging infectious disease (EID) threats generally originate from wild animal because their environment is disturbed or destroyed due to changes in land use, climate change, loss of biodiversity and results of human population pressure. Therefore, there is a clear need to consider the interconnections with the health of humans and animals to detect outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic infectious diseases.

For this reason the Mérieux Foundation and the FAO teams in Lao PDR met at Mérieux Foundation office to discuss developing effective communication and exchange between human health and animal health sectors. After a presentation of on-going activities that have already been implemented, both parties discussed the laboratory assessments conducted by FAO and the Mérieux Foundation/IQLS, the synergizing in-service curriculum, support for upgrading veterinary laboratories, and paving the way to accreditation.

Dr. Benoit Chevalier, the Mérieux Foundation Country Representative, Dr. Jean Pierre Lombart, HOP Fleming Fund CG2, Mr. Thenkham Haraixay, SEALAB Project Manager and Dr. Boualapha Chanthilath, QWArS Project Manager for the Merieux Foundation in Lao PDR, met with Dr. Leo Loth, International Technical Advisor and Dr. Bounlom Douangngeun, former NAHL director, consultant for the FAO office in Lao PDR.

All participants agreed that there are obvious advantages of a closer cooperation between human and animal health sectors and decided to schedule a monthly meeting to take up the challenge of moving from concept to practice.

Nearly all new human (infectious) diseases that have emerged within the past 10 to 15 years have been found to have originated from animal reservoirs.

Some key figures:

  • 60% of human pathogens are zoonotic
  • 80% of animal pathogens are multi-host
  • 75% of emerging diseases are zoonotic
  • 80% of potential bioterrorism agents are zoonotic pathogens

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