News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Friday, September 24, 2010

New journal article: Economic and poverty impacts of animal diseases in developing countries: New roles, new demands for economics and epidemiology

Value chain analysis and information economics can improve our understanding of the economic and poverty impacts of animal diseases, particularly in developing country contexts.

These new 'bottom-up' approaches are analyzed in a paper published online on 15 September 2010 in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine.

The authors, Karl Rich and Brian Perry, highlight the issues affecting different value chain actors and examine how best to align incentives for sustainable control of animal diseases.

"Both value chain analysis and information economics hold particular promise and relevance towards impact assessments that are more robust and thorough than past ones, particularly in the context of the roles of incentives," the authors observe.

Karl Rich is on joint appointment with ILRI and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). Brian Perry is an honorary professor of veterinary medicine at the Universities of Edinburgh and Pretoria, a visiting professor at the University of Oxford, and formerly leader of ILRI's research team on animal health and food safety for trade.

Read the abstract here

Rich KM and Perry BD. 2011. The economic and poverty impacts of animal diseases in developing countries: New roles, new demands for economics and epidemiology. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 101(3-4): 133-147.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Featured publication: Risk maps for bird flu in Africa

More than 85 percent of households in rural Africa raise poultry for food, income, or both, and many people live in close contact with their birds. The possibility of an epidemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 is therefore a major concern. Since 2006 bird flu has been introduced into at least 11 countries in Africa, and over 600 outbreaks reported.

Vigilance is key to limiting the disease but animal health personnel cannot monitor everywhere at once. This risk-mapping project was designed to help prioritize their efforts by showing in which places outbreaks are more likely to occur.

A risk map is a complex, computer-generated image that shows the spatial distribution of the predicted risk of a disease. It is based on the spatial distribution of 'risk factors' associated with an increased risk of disease, and the relative importance of each of these factors. In the case of virulent bird flu, risk factors include major transport routes, markets where poultry may be traded, and wetlands with the possibility of contact between poultry and wild birds.

Researchers in this project, Early Detection, Reporting and Surveillance for Avian Influenza in Africa, have prepared risk maps for bird flu in Africa using multi-criteria decision modelling. In this way they have integrated data and information from such diverse sources as published scientific literature, maps available in the public domain, field surveys and expert consultations. An initial set of risk maps was prepared in 2009. These maps were then refined to produce the final maps contained in the current report.

Project partners include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the African Union - InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), regional animal health centres, and other national animal health services and veterinary authorities throughout Africa and abroad.

Download the report

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

EcoHealth resource centres planned for Southeast Asia region

The EcoHealth approach to the prevention and control of zoonotic emerging infectious diseases in the Southeast Asia region project is one of the EcoHealth projects on infectious diseases currently supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Southeast Asia.

The key objective of the project is capacity building of researchers to apply EcoHealth principles into research through ‘learning-by-doing’.

Six research proposals are being finalized currently, each developed using a transdisciplinary approach.

EcoHealth has been defined as holistic, participatory approaches to understanding and promoting heath and wellbeing in the context of social and ecological interactions. 

EcoHealth approaches see the health of humans as dependent on – and inextricably linked with – the health of animals and the ecosystem.

A new project component has recently been added with the donor’s approval, whereby the project will support the setting up of two EcoHealth Resource Centres within the Southeast Asia region; at Chiang Mai University in Thailand and at the University of Gadjah Mada in Indonesia.

The aim is to promote institutionalization of EcoHealth within these centres that would conduct training and mentoring, assisting the capacity building efforts of the project's researchers, and providing for researchers and key actors involved in other EcoHealth projects.

Currently their focus will be on infectious/zoonotic diseases but ultimately they should become involved in other aspects of EcoHealth, including climate change.

For more information about this project, please contact Dr Jeffrey Gilbert (j.gilbert @