What is One Health?

One health is defined as “the integrative effort of multiple disciplines working together to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment”.  It is a holistic approach that acknowledges the inextricable links between this triad that can have far reaching affects for wildlife and neighboring communities. 

Why is LWT’s Clinical Projects in One Health important?

Significant knowledge gaps exist in the body of research on wildlife health in Malawi and the collection and analysis of baseline data will be beneficial for informing conservation strategies locally, regionally, and nationally.  

What’s more, the interface between wildlife, domestic animals, and wildlife is very close in Malawi and the potential for interaction is particularly significant given the country’s high human population density and encroachment of human settlement on the edges of many protected areas, making the potential for disease transfer at this interface of special concern. 

Where will this project be based?

The project will be based in and around Kuti Wildlife Reserve, a small (2000 hectare) protected areas with a diverse and prolific wildlife population.  Kuti is surrounded by farming communities and has a long history of community interaction.

Who will be working on the project?

The project is directed by LWT’s Head Veterinarian and Project Manager,Dr Amanda Lee Salb. She is joined by Dr. Eva Scheltens who will manage the day to day data collection and clinical interventions.

Drs. Salb and Scheltens are supported by the on-site team, which includes veterinary research externs, Kuti WR rangers, and other Kuti and LWT support personnel.

(Note that whilst there will be opportunities for volunteers who do not have specific experience in the future, we are currently focusing on participation from those who have a veterinary background.)

What does the project entail?

Twizzler the bushbuck

Clinical Projects in One Health will begin by focusing on three objectives:

  1. Establish a baseline for health monitoring and evaluation for selected wildlife species within Kuti WR
  2. Survey potential zoonoses in domestic companion animals around the reserve
  3. Examine pathogens and their effect on the health of both domestic and wild hoofstock

In the first year, the primary focus will be on wildlife health monitoring and evaluation (M&E) within the reserve itself, with additional select health surveillance for domestic animals and livestock in the adjacent villages. The main activities will initially focus on:

  • Zoonotic fecal pathogens in monkeys around the reserve
  • Fecal pathogens in hoofstock, with special attention to helminths affecting production in domestic livestock and body condition in wild hoofstock
  • Rodent vectors for selected bacterial infections
  • Fecal helminths in domestic dogs in villages around the reserve, especially those with zoonotic potential

In year 1, the majority of the research will be carried out during the cooler months, between May and September 2017.

Year 2 is expected to use Year 1’s data to:

  • Identify potential disease risks to Kuti’s wildlife populations and develop appropriate mitigation and monitoring strategies
  • Develop a targeted surveillance, diagnosis and treatment of domestic animals and livestock within the surrounding communities.
  • Investigate the prevalence of potential zoonoses identified in Year 1 in humans and their effect on human health

In Year 3, monitoring and evaluation of interventions will inform strategies for continuation and degree of intervention for domestic animal and wildlife.  Year 2’s data will provide the information necessary to target appropriate human health interventions.

How will students be involved in Clinical Projects in One Health?

Students participating in CPOH will be involved in all aspects of data collection and analysis including field work, laboratory analysis, clinical interventions, and data entry.  Students will be based in Kuti WR. and work will entail a combination of non-invasive wildlife sample collection and clinical cases with the majority of clinical work taking place in the villages surrounding Kuti WR. Students will be trained on relevant procedures and be involved in data collection of whatever species is being focused on that week.  

They will also have the opportunity to independently explore the wilderness in Kuti WR and surrounding environs (Salima and Senga Bay). 

 

Please email lilongwewildlife@gmail.com with any questions.