WildHealthNet Southeast Asia: Operationalizing Wildlife Health Surveillance for One Health

WCS
Published: 21 June 2022
Last edited: 08 July 2022
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Summary

The Wildlife Health Surveillance Network, known as WildHealthNet, is a regional initiative supporting national governments in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam to build and implement national wildlife health surveillance strategies. The project has enhanced the ability of these nations to safely detect, monitor, trace, and report emerging pathogens in wildlife, to facilitate more rapid response and mitigation. The system has already detected trans-national disease outbreaks of zoonotic diseases and pathogens of economic, wildlife, and human health significance. More rapid identification of wildlife pathogens benefits public health, livestock health, rural livelihoods and food security, and conservation. 

Classifications

Region
Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
Multi-national
National
Subnational
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Agroforestry
Cropland
Estuary
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Lagoon
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
Temperate deciduous forest
Tropical deciduous forest
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Urban wetlands
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Theme
Agriculture
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Food security
Health and human wellbeing
Indigenous people
Local actors
Mitigation
Not listed
One Health
Outreach & communications
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Science and research
Species management
Sustainable livelihoods
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Wildlife Health Surveillance (to capture biodiversity, health, disease, and pathogen surveillance)
Species Monitoring and Research
Species Disease Early warning systems
Risk communication, community engagement and behaviour change
Risk assessment
Outbreak investigation and access to laboratory
One Health coordination mechanism
One Health
Animal health
Biodiversity-health nexus
Food systems
Good governance of landscapes
Health effects of climate change and pollution
Health related aspects of socio-economic factors such as poverty, education, social security structures, digitalisation, financing systems, human capacity development 
Neglected tropical diseases, emerging infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance
Wildlife trade and human-wildlife conflicts
Challenges
Drought
Erratic rainfall
Floods
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Shift of seasons
Vector and water borne diseases
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Poaching
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Inefficient management of financial resources
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Physical resource extraction
Health
Lack of food security
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Lack of technical capacity
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Sendai Framework
Target 1: Reduce global disaster mortality by 2030
Target 2: Reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030
Target 3: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP by 2030
Target 5: Increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020
Target 6: Enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030
Target 7: Increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030

Location

Cambodia | Lao PDR, Viet Nam

Challenges

Human encroachment into natural areas, climate change, and the commercial wildlife trade, bring people, wildlife, and livestock into closer and more frequent contact, increasing the “spillover” risk of zoonotic-origin diseases like Covid-19, Ebola, HIV, and SARs. Over 70% of emerging zoonotic diseases originate from wildlife. Despite the relevance of wildlife pathogens for biodiversity, livestock, and humans, established wildlife health surveillance programs remain rare. A 2021 review found almost 60% of reporting countries had no evidence of functional wildlife surveillance.  WildHealthNet supports government partners to develop wildlife surveillance programs that integrate with existing national surveillance and One Health platforms. The approach connects people who encounter wildlife, including rangers, hunters, and animal rescue centers, with stakeholders who can take action to analyze disease threats and try to prevent their spread. 

Beneficiaries

- Wildlife and conservation

- Rangers

- Communities (those reliant on wildlife for food or economic security, those who have close contact with wildlife, and those whose domestic animals interact with wildlife)

- National and global public health

How do the building blocks interact?

The first three building blocks are the foundations that support the fourth building block: an effective multisectoral One Health response. Building networks and national strategies that define roles and processes; bridging capacity for each of the specific stakeholders; and introducing appropriate open technologies to support reporting and data management and sharing together enable the translation of data into actions that can protect wildlife, human, and animal health and well-being.

Impacts

WildHealthNet enabled the first detection of African Swine Fever, a devastating domestic pig disease, in free-ranging wildlife in all three project countries (Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam) and identified biosecurity breaches that contributed to its spread. The network discovered a transnational outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in important wetlands and rapidly informed public and livestock health partners to limit onward transmission. In Cambodia, the identification of Lumpy Skin Disease in a dead endangered banteng led to vaccination of livestock in communities bordering protected areas. The government of Laos recently adopted and codified the network’s reporting structure. We aim to build on this progress to create regional and then global networks of countries. implementing WildHealthNet.

Contributed by

lKeatts_41893's picture

Lucy Keatts WCS