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“Catalyzing Next Generation” Restressed At SEAOHUN 2022 Conference
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2022
More Than 300 Health Practitioners, Educators, And Researchers From 30 Countries Gathered At SEAOHUN 2022 International Conference To Brainstorm Ways Forwards To Enhance Country-Level Capacities For Infectious Disease Preparedness, Detection, And Outbreak Response.
At the three-day event during 5-7 September 2022, lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic were shared and Covid-19 was touted as an alarm bell for the urgency in enhancing response capacities and capabilities.
Organized by Southeast Asia One Health University Network in collaboration with Chulabhorn Royal Academy and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), Chevron, Zoetis, and Pfizer.
The conference themed Catalyzing One Health Citizens of the Future” brought together students, academicians, practitioners and advocates with diverse backgrounds to share their experience, research findings, and perspectives to discuss One Health education, policy gaps and partnership needs in One Health, and complex health threat issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Parntep Ratanakorn, Chairperson of SEAOHUN Executive Board and Chair of the SEAOHUN 2022 International Conference said “We selected this theme because we intend to highlight how health is a concern for all and that we all have impacts upon our wellbeing and that of other living things by the choices we make.”
In his keynote speech “One Health in the Age of Pandemics and Climate Change”, Dennis Carroll, Chair of Leadership Board, Global Virome Project, highlighted the interconnectedness of climate change and pandemics and stressed the need in equipping the next generation with multisectoral knowledge and tools to deal with the urgency, dynamics, and complex global issues.
As the globe is faced with dual challenges – pandemics and climate change, he said the situation is getting more complex and more challenging as reflected through the loss of biodiversity, threats to food security, severity and frequency of floods, storms, drought, etc.
Despite the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, the threshold has already been breached in many parts of the world and multisectoral threats have been felt by humans, animals, and the environment.
In this regard, One Health Vision could be an answer, he stressed. Starting 15 years ago, One Health seeks to identify problems and solutions, to create platforms that will enhance the next generation’s capabilities for the global population’s wellbeing, not just physical or mental health.
Supporting it are emerging technologies that can mitigate the impacts while global citizens’ change behaviours are a must “Look at risks associated with climate change and actions we need to take. Those risks are rapidly evolving and changing,” he said, urging participants to expand One Health Vision. “We know what to do. We know how to do it. What we need to do is to commit ourselves to do it now.”
SEAOHUN 2022 International Conference featured the following panel discussions:
• Catalyzing One Health Citizens of the Future
• Innovation to Stop Future Pandemics
• Combatting a Silent Pandemic: Antimicrobial Resistance
Given the intensifying impacts, panellists at all sessions agreed on the need to develop One Health citizens of the future and equip them with capabilities and tools to prepare for and deal with imminent pandemics and other public health emergency threats.
Collaboration of all parties “whole-of-government, whole-of-society” from public and business sectors to academics including the community was underpinned to expand the One Health approach that brings multiple disciplines to work locally, nationally, and globally to obtain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment.
The panellists at the panel discussion on “Innovation to Stop Future Pandemics” amplified the importance of multi-sectoral, multi-discipline collaboration to prevent and stop diseases and spillover, either via vaccine, new drug development, and real-time data sharing platform.
At the panel discussion on “Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance using One Health Approach”, panellists voiced concerns about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as the silent pandemic may spur over-prescription of antibiotics to tackle associated infections. They stressed the need for a network where evidence and data can be collected, analysed, and utilized for shaping national policies and shared among practitioners.