28 Feb 2013

Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2013

Submitted by ohsadmin

The Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2013 on A World United Against Infectious Diseases: Cross-Sectoral Solutions,  was held on 28 January – 2 February 2013 at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Center at Central World, Bangkok, Thailand.

The conference attracted more than 900 participants from 73 countries with diverse backgrounds, including academics, embassies, foundations, government from developing and developed countries, NGOs, the private sector and UN agencies. The conference was an enriching experience for all involved in work on One Health.  The conference provided excellent opportunities for networking with existing and new partners across the sectors and across the world.

Photo: Lotta Berg/SLU.
Photo: Lotta Berg / SLU & IEE.

In short, the objectives of the conference were:

  • To foster cooperation and communication across sectors and across borders to mitigate the threat of infectious diseases, existing or emerging, at the human-animal-ecosystem interface.

  • To review and share experiences among low, middle and high-income countries with different degrees of health system capacity.

  • To identify the human suffering and economic cost if we fail to build appropriate human and institutional capacities and fail to exploit available technologic innovations in countering health threats.

  • To provide opportunities for a group of experts – utilizing multidiscipline country teams – to dialogue, learn, create solutions and provide leadership in applied One Health concepts.

  • To provide a platform for international, regional and national disease surveillance system and networks.

  • To identify those policies and other higher-level factors that either constrain or enable effective cross-sectoral collaboration at the country, regional and global level.

A few examples of ways forward for One Health, discussed at the conference:

  • Consider drivers of disease emergence such as land use changes, climate variability, transport and trade, food systems, water safety and security.

  • Strategies tailored to specific needs; culturally, socially and economically appropriate.

  • Opportunities to strengthen and scale up existing regional networks.

  • Inclusion of more disciplines (anthropologist, economist, social media, communication experts etc).

  • A “risk” based approach is needed to target investments and capacity building to those places, populations, times and situations where need is greatest.

  • Consider trust and transparency as crucial in cross-sectoral collaboration.

A much appreciated part of the conference were the fieldtrips arranged for the participants to for instance various health facilities, poultry industry and the valuable encounters with volunteers at regional and local levels. The health volunteers play an important role in the surveillance and control of infectious diseases in Thailand.

All presentations and speaker documents are now available on the conference website www.pmaconference.mahidol.ac.th. The conference proceedings will be made available on the same website in May 2013.