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Engaging with the Community for Practical Solutions

Coproduction Research

The October 2018 edition of Nature caught my eye as the cover talked about coproduction research. Coproduction is an inclusive approach that brings community engagement into research, ensuring stakeholders and scientists work together. It’s about listening to everyone and making sure that everyone’s knowledge is valued.

Coproduction research ensures communities and scientists work together. Why is this important? Because it makes the research relevant to the societies we are trying to serve, it helps change situations for the better.

Why is this important? Because it ensures that the research we are doing is relevant to the societies we are trying to serve. Coproduction projects are often undervalued but they bring discoveries that can help and change situations for the better. We can only understand the true impact of diseases by working with the communities affected by them; we can`t correlate experiences in Europe with those in Africa or Asia, so we must work with those on the ground and listen to them. If those who hope to benefit from research are actively involved in shaping it, we will find practical solutions. I have felt strongly about this for years and that is why we focus our resources on supporting community-based projects, whether on rabies, foot and mouth disease (FMD), lumpy skin disease (LSD), or any other emerging or transboundary diseases.

World Rabies Day Awards 2018

We were proud to sponsor the World Rabies Day Awards that recognize people for the great work on the ground, often with limited resources. Their efforts make a real difference and it is why we are so committed to One Health, One Welfare.

For the third year in a row, we were proud to sponsor the World Rabies Day Awards. Working with GARC, and with judges from WHO, FAO, OIE, and the CDC, these awards recognize the great work being done—often with limited resources—to improve both animal and human health by controlling rabies. The winners were announced on One Health Day, November 3, 2018. Ms Debby Ng (Nepal) and Dr Yoenten Phuentshok (Bhutan) won the individual awards, while Mr Jassem Brahmi of Tunisia Against Rabies (Tunisia) and Mr Robert Sinsuan of Health Through Media Leaders (Philippines) won the student awards. Regional awards were given to Lanna Dog Welfare in Thailand, The Big Fix Uganda in Uganda, Le Sanctuaire de la Faune de Tanger in Morocco, and Uvis Sao Miguel Paulista in Brazil. The thank-you videos that we received from a number of them were very moving and reminded us of why we are so committed to the One Health, One Welfare concept. Working together we can really make a difference.

Celebrating experience and new paths to disease control

Despite tremendous advances in disease control and knowledge we still have a long way to go. We constantly look for new ways of tackling problems such as challenges in running vaccination campaings or building global vaccine banks.

The past November saw the 60th anniversary of the World Reference Laboratory for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) at Pirbright. You may have seen some of the tweets highlighting their achievements. It is amazing to think how things have moved forward over the past 60 years. And yet, despite the fact there have been tremendous advances in disease control and knowledge, the only 2 diseases to be globally eradicated are smallpox and rinderpest. It amazes me that my father worked on malaria with the Wellcome Trust over 40 years ago, but we still have a long way to go. We are constantly looking for new ways of tackling problems and that is why we are part of the student hackathon at Cornell University. If you haven`t heard of a hackathon before, the idea (in brief) is to get a large group of students together over a weekend, feed them pizza and beer, and give them challenges to solve (I may be simplifying). We are presenting them with problems on disease surveillance, building global vaccine banks, and improving the impact of vaccination campaigns. I am really excited to see what might come from this.

Coffee time is always a great opportunity to carry on the FMD discussions. EuFMD Open Session 2018, Puglia, Italy.
Mr Erwin van den Born, MSD Animal Health, talks about virus-like particle vaccines during the EuFMD OS18.
Mr Keith Sumption opens the excellent OS18. EuFMD Open Session 2018, Puglia, Italy.
MSD Animal Health proudly supported the 60th anniversary of WRLFMD Pirbright.
Puglia, Italy, was a wonderful host for EuFMD OS18.

World Rabies Day (WRD) Award winners 2018:

Dr Yoenten Phuentshok, National Centre for Animal Health (Bhutan), WRD Award winner for individuals.
Ms Debby Ng, Himalayan Mutt Project (Nepal), WRD Award winner for individuals.
Mr Jassem Brahmi, Tunisia Against Rabies (Tunisia), WRD Award winner for students.
Mr Robert Sinsuan, Health Through Media Leaders (Philippines), WRD Award winner for students.
Recovery area for animals, Lanna Dog Welfare in Thailand, WRD Award winner for Asia region.
Field clinic, The Big Fix in Uganda, WRD Award winner for Africa region.

The Big Fix Uganda: This group in Northern Uganda gets into places where communities are in the biggest need of a big fix: they vaccinate dogs against rabies, teach children and train new rabies field educators. They use every opportunity, such as posters and radio programs, to shout out that vaccinating dogs protects people against rabies.

Le Sanctuaire de la Faune de Tanger in Morocco, WRD Award winner for Middle East and Europe region.

These Tangier’s dogs saviors took care of more than 5000 stray dogs: they neutered and treated them, and through vaccinating saved them not only from rabies but also from the cruel act of killing – until then, a standard measure. This act of love has set a good example driving a real change in the mindset of the local Moroccan authorities

Uvis São Miguel Paulista in Brazil, WRD Award winner for Americas region.
Alasdair King
Director, International Veterinary Health