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Introductory Seminar: Animal Health Communication

In Announcements, Blog, Updates on November 29, 2007 by Jim Tagged: , ,

This seminar was delivered at the Asian Research Centre of Murdoch University today as an introductory seminar of my research on animal health communication.

Livestock play a significant role in the livelihood of smallholder farmers, which includes draught power for agricultural activities, nutrition sources for their family and cash income from the sale of livestock products such as milk, meat and eggs. However, the continuing outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) such as Avian Influenza, Foot and Mouth Disease and Classical Swine Fever in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have caused severe morbidity and mortality in livestock populations in the Subregion, particularly smallholder communities, with severe negative economic impact. Governments, non-government organizations and international organizations have provided various services, ranging from veterinary training to public awareness, to smallholder farmers and other sectors to help alleviate their TADs problems.

Communication has played a vital role in delivering services to various sectors. There is good evidence that animal health communication (AHC) campaigns, through various communication channels have helped enormously those isolated communities in remote regions deal with TADs problems.

The focus on improving AHC has been increasing since the outbreak of zoonotic diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in late 2002 and heightened with the emergence of AI in 2004. This further intensified with the need to inform and mobilize the public to address various issues related to the spread and control of TADs outbreaks effectively. The outbreaks have also highlighted the need for a holistic approach in implementing animal health or animal disease programs by integrating AHC. There is growing concern, however, that this could be improved by a more targeted approach.

This research aims to investigate the role and importance of AHC, and the cultural and social implications of integrating it in animal health and disease control programs. It will use both qualitative and quantitative approaches in building both a definition and a theory/model of AHC.

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