Posts Tagged ‘animal health communication’


Animal Health Communication in South East Asia

In Worthy links on May 24, 2012 by Jim Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

My paper, Animal Health Communication in South East Asia, was included in one of the major publications of ACIAR. The Animal biosecurity in the Mekong: future directions for research and development is one of the series of publications of ACIAR. This latest series includes the full proceedings of an international workshop held in Siem Reap, Cambodia last 10-13 August 2010. The papers in ACIAR Proceedings are peer-reviewed.

It is the first article related to my thesis published in a major publication here in Australia. A photo I took during my field study also landed the cover! 🙂

Another photo I took ages ago on one of my field missions in Cambodia. I miss working for #FAO #d40x #dslr #Cambodia #FMD #serosurveillance #pig #vet #kids #children #igersperth #igerswestoz #pinoy #pinoyexpat #b&w



Communication for animal health

In Worthy links on March 12, 2010 by Jim Tagged: , , , ,

Communication tools for livestock


It is finished

In Blog,Reflections,Updates on February 25, 2010 by Jim Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Well, not so much.

I’m referring to my data gathering. I was away for about two months talking to participants of my research study in Cambodia and Laos. It was really nice to return in the field and do what I used to do–talk to farmers and probe how they communicate to people.

This is the hardest work I’ve done so far as I virtually became a one-man research team. I was the finance officer, note taker, research manager, interviewer, typist and since I have a translator, I was the assistant moderator. Despite some hiccups, I guess my data might be enough for me to earn me a degree.

A trader in Laos. They will eventually stop near the border and walk the animals to cross the border. Officials from the opposite border don't care much about permits as they have a big demand for cattle.

Initial Insights

There were a number of things that I’ve learned while I was in the field. I will only name a few and will not discuss them in detail here. Corruption is one of the roots of the continuing failure of policies in Southeast Asia–regardless if it is in politics, economy or animal health–it is bound to fail. Farmers were almost encouraged to trade illegally as they could not afford what some industry stakeholders are asking from them.

I was thought that development communication is participatory. However, at this stage, my belief that a purely participatory development communication can be achieved is being challenged. In a highly technical field such as animal health, giving stakeholders the freedom to participate in the decision-making might not be the way to go. This is just my first thought, I might be wrong, I might be right, I still have to think more about this. It is just one of the many reflections that I made in the field. Farmers, traders and other stakeholders, while possessing indigenous knowledge about animal health, will have to trust the technical knowledge of veterinarians how to address transboundary animal diseases.

Lessons learned

In a communication research, communication is of vital importance, no pun intended. Your translator could well mean your success or your failure. While I’ve learned this already in the first phase of my research, funding constraints however forced me to stick to my old practice of depending on my local partners to provide the translators instead of relying on a professional translator. This was a way of promoting ownership among the local partners, however, it also gave some unnecessary burden in the research that I have to blindly trust my local partners/colleagues on their judgment of who is a “skilled” English speaker among their staff.

Sometimes, excellent English skill is not that important as long as my translator, who also acted as the moderator during my research, is a seasoned moderator or someone who has extensive experience in talking to farmers or conducting focus group discussions. However, at some point both didn’t happen—satisfactory English skills and experience in FGDs/interviewing farmers. If that was the case, the FGD is not considered in the study.

Practical side

How about my family? Well, the family coped without me when I was in Cambodia last December as my father-in-law, who was visiting us from the Philippines, spent his last month in Australia. It was unfortunate that he was not given a waiver of the “no further stay” clause in his visa because he has no “compelling” reason to stay.

I was able to return to Australia by end of December just in time to spend New Year with the family. By second week of January, my father-in-law and I had to leave for Southeast Asia—I was off to Laos while he returns to Manila. Fortunately, my wife had enough leave credits that we were able to cope with the ‘partial loss’ of income. They survived almost a month without me, getting to summer activities and first week of school by public transport.


Animal Health Officer (Communications)

In Blog on June 9, 2008 by Jim Tagged: , , , ,

I regularly check vacancies on various organizations online especially FAO vacancies. I usually find posts for animal health officers specializing in various fields like economics, production, epidemiology among others but one thing that I have yet to see they recruit is an animal health officer specializing on communications. Well, I guess that time will come. 😀


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.