The Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa programme brings together natural and social scientists, including environmental, biological, social, political, and human and animal health researchers. We believe an integrated approach to understanding animal-to-human disease transmission is essential to inform effective poverty and public health interventions. A main objective of ours is therefore to generate evidence and advance our understandings of the complex relationships between zoonoses, ecosystems and wellbeing.
We need to know how environmental change, zoonotic disease and poverty can form a downward spiral. There is little systematic understanding of how these downward spirals emerge, and of the thresholds and tipping points for zoonotic ‘spillover’ (the points at which a disease transmits from animal species to humans).
Using exciting new fieldwork and modelling approaches, we will seek answers to the following questions:
- What kinds of ecological changes (in for example biodiversity, vegetation and habitat, and water) are affecting possible animal-to-human disease spillover?
- What uses of ecosystems by different people bring them into contact with possible disease risk?
- How are these local dynamics affected by wider changes, such as those in climate, land use and urbanisation.
- How do different people and agencies understand and represent these dynamics and what are the implications for public health policy?
In this way, the Consortium aims to provide a much-needed evidence base and set of practical approaches to make the One Health agenda work in ways that also promote sustainable poverty reduction and social justice.
There are few examples of how to implement the One Health agenda and how to make it work for the poor. Providing such examples in ways that can genuinely benefit the health and livelihoods of the poor in our case study countries – and also provide illustrations to guide thinking elsewhere – is a core goal of the Drivers of Disease programme.
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