Building a Community of Practice | The ASEAN-Australia One Health Fellowship Programme

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Building a Community of Practice | The ASEAN-Australia One Health Fellowship Programme
ASEAN-Australia One Health Fellowship Team, Murdoch University
28 May 2024
Health and COVID-19

The ASEAN-Australia One Health Fellowship Programme was established in 2021 at Murdoch University with funding from the Australian Government amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is in partnership with ASEAN, aligning with the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, to support regional public health and health security. The fellowship builds capacity to prevent and respond to emerging infectious diseases through the One Health approach.

The One Health approach works at the intersection between human, animal, and environmental health. It is considered best practice for monitoring, detecting, and containing zoonotic diseases transmissible from animals to humans. Reportedly, up to 75 per cent of new human diseases are zoonotic, many of which can cause pandemics like COVID-19. The ASEAN-Australia One Health Fellowship is a 2.5-year programme that operates through several key components:

i. The Murdoch University Graduate Certificate in One Health: This online postgraduate coursework provides core skills in One Health practices, and also provides opportunities to establish networks beyond the ASEAN-Australia One Health Fellowship with a broader cohort of Murdoch University students.

ii. Research Training Workshops: These online and offline workshops cover a range of topics, including Tools for Evaluating Biosecurity and One Health Initiatives, Conducting Scoping and Systematic Literature Reviews, Design Thinking, and Gender and Equity in Development. These workshops equip fellows with the necessary methods and skills to use the One Health approach to address regional and global challenges.

iii. Building a Community of Practice: The Mentoring Programme is designed to connect fellows with Murdoch University academics and cultivate a vibrant community of practice. The mentors provide guidance in One Health principles and practices and facilitate engagement with a wider global community of Biosecurity and One Health scholars and practitioners. This is complemented by exchange and collaboration through country-group research projects and in-person annual workshops.

Thirty-five One Health Fellowships were awarded to officials from ASEAN Member States. These fellows come from diverse fields, including epidemiology, public health, animal health, environmental health, wildlife medicine, health economics, and biosecurity.

The ASEAN-Australia One Health Fellowship is nurturing professionals to address the complex health challenges confronting the region. It does so through fostering meaningful relationships and promoting continued engagement that extends beyond the structured components of the programme. This cross-border cooperation is poised to pave the way for a healthier, more resilient future.

The programme arranged several ASEAN-Australia One Health Fellows to attend the 7th World One Health Congress in Singapore in November 2022. They also used the opportunity to have an in-person research workshop in Murdoch University Singapore. In 2023, the annual in-person workshop was held in Bali, Indonesia. This event provided fellows with the opportunity to network, engage in face-to-face project discussions, and establish collaborative relationships within the wider ASEAN-Australia One Health Community of Practice.

The fellows attentively listening to a briefing before touring the Disease Investigation Centre in Denpasar (Bali, November 2023)