Strengthening use of One Health approaches in government ministries in Laos

A meeting on 30 May 2018 in Vientiane, Laos, reflected on the achievements of One Health research interfacing cross-sectoral collaboration and ways of advancing the work of a One Health platform in the country.

Participants included representatives from national government, research academia and universities, implementing partners and development donor community.

One Health has been applied in Laos through a recently completed Europe Union-funded project ‘Companion approach for cross-sectoral collaboration in health risks management in Southeast Asia’ known as ComAcross. A cross-sectoral institutional platform was initiated during the project which included six ministries, Ministry of Education and Sport, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

Building up on the successful approach of ComAcross, the National University of Laos (NUoL) in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has implemented further One Health activities and research. These include an assessment of the prevalence of taeniosis/cysticercoses and trichinellosis in pigs and rural communities of southern Laos as part of new research on food-borne diseases in Champasak Province; and efforts to further strengthen inter-ministerial One Health collaboration by facilitating the exchange of this group with other One Health initiatives.


Fred Unger, ILRI’s researcher, presents initial results from a survey on pork-borne diseases in Champasak Province to participants (photo credit: ILRI/Hung Nguyen).

At the meeting, Fred Unger, senior researcher at ILRI, presented first results from the recent survey on the prevalence of taeniosis/cysticercoses and trichinellosis. Participants discussed how to further advance the work of the One Health committee. They proposed an agreement (through a memorandum of understanding) between relevant One Health actors to create a framework that would guide the work of the committee. The committee would then link current One Health efforts with the national strategic plan especially in terms of mobilizing resources for diseases prevention and control.

Participants reviewed the One Health Partnership (OHP) model from Vietnam, which was presented by Hung Nguyen, ILRI regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, a platform which was initiated by the Vietnamese government for better coordinating One Heath activities in Vietnam. The OHP has become a sustainable and stable forum for policy dialogue, inter-sectoral and multi-disciplinary cooperation in One Health.

The meeting’s other discussions focused on identifying ways of supporting the One Health partnership in Laos including by starting a review of antimicrobial resistance in farms, establishing specific working groups to cover specific One Health issues and enhancing transdisciplinary approaches.

One Health is a multi-disciplinary approach to achieving optimal health for people, animals and the environment through local, regional and global research collaboration. The use of One Health approach has showed effective and efficient in Southeast Asia which is a hotspot for emerging infectious diseases including zoonoses.

See another post on ILRI’s work in Laos at ILRI researchers carry out initial survey of pork-borne diseases in southern Laos