Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (APEIR)
With the emergence of a novel Influenza A/H1N1 virus of swine origin (H1N1v), and the subsequent sustained human-to-human transmission of this virus on a global scale, we are now experiencing the first influenza pandemic of the 21st Century. As of 23 May 2010, worldwide more than 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 18,114 deaths. This event has reminded policy makers and researchers in the country and the Asian region to respond the public health emergence of international concerns caused by Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases. In order to enable a country to respond systematically, effectively, and efficiently to the EIDs emergence, evidence-informed policy-decision making in a timely fashion is needed.
In 2005 the threat of avian influenza (H5N1) spurred a five-country collaboration to improve policy for and surveillance of EIDs in Asia. Lessons learned from the so-called ‘bird flu’ were applied to the new pandemic; H1N1 swine flu in 2009. This, in part, the new collaboration, known since May 2009 as the Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (APEIR) is in place. APEIR is composed of researchers, officials and practitioners from over 30 partner institutions in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Its vision is “to be the leading knowledge and research network in Asia for EIDs, based on Eco-health concepts by 2013”. HSRI serves this initiative as the APEIR Regional Coordinating Office, and facilitating in-country Thai APEIR network.
APEIR is funded by the Canadian International Development Research Center (IDRC), and explores research and policy questions at the interface between animal and human public health. To date, five regional collaborative researches have been conducted. The five priorities were: (i) Migratory bird surveillance; (ii) Socio-economic impacts; (iii) Backyard poultry; (iv) Policy analysis; and (v) Control measures. Preliminary research findings include: Farmers do not report; This sort of research supports that small holder farmers are quite vulnerable to such outbreaks with considerable economic loss. This research points to be value of multi-country, multi-sector analysis and its combination through networks like APEIR; Wildbirds movements are closely associated with outbreaks. Governments and farmers do not control wildbirds; Government policies to eradicate and control disease are not well coordinated and are not always so successful; Policy making is dominated by large industrial concerns but not coherent policy making across countries.
Under the auspices of APEIR strategic objectives for 2010-2013, three priority research programme areas are focusing: Drivers of EIDs; Impact of EIDs on vulnerable group; and Prevention of EIDs. At this point, regional and in-country as well as WHO and other development partners collaboration are in need for nourishing such a partnership.
Targets For 2010-2013
- Improved human/animal health surveillance systems resilience to respond to pandemic EIDs in a timely and efficient manner. Methods of disease control and prevention shall be efficiently implemented.
- EIDs networking/partnership expanded, empowered and recognized.
- Reduce impact of pandemic EIDs on the society.
- Review the structure and process of both animal and human health surveillance systems and re-assess how the systems interface and integration supports to improve EIDs control, prevention and public communication.
- Country priority and scope to work with EIDs would be identified.
- Conduct regional and in-country collaborative priority researches.
- Building capacity and strengthening of EIDs research network/partnership.
- Empowerment of communities thru public communication and research process.
- Knowledge sharing among researchers and relevant stakeholders ( including communities) and translation to policy platforms.
Research Program on Emerging Health Problems
This program focuses on the development of knowledge regarding emerging health problems, such as the epidemic of avian influenza both H5N1 and H1N1, and other emerging diseases, particularly diseases causing infections from animals to human beings, addressing developing and strengthening surveillance systems, control of disease epidemic, and policy mechanisms concerned. Moreover, there is the study on the effects of Free Trade Polices on Health, such as the establishment of ASEAN Free Trade Area, ASEAN Community, international medical hub, etc. Moreover, this program aims at strengthening the negotiation mechanisms at the international level for reducing Free Trade effects on health of Thai people.
- Pornpit Silkavute