Fourteen veterinarians from Indonesia are learning how to track and stop the spread of animal borne diseases in a three-week training program hosted by the University of Sydney.
The program is part of the Australian Aid Agency (AusAid) Australian Leadership Awards Fellowships (ALAF) program and aims to equip Indonesian veterinary epidemiologists with important skills to improve surveillance, detection and monitoring of animal borne diseases.
"Animal borne diseases that cause a high rate of death when humans are infected, such as bird flu and rabies, are an immediate problem in Indonesia. They are a real concern to animal owners posing a threat not only to their health but also to their livelihood, particularly for subsistence farmers" said Jenny-Ann Toribio, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney.
"This Fellowship program aims to strengthen the capacity of government, non-government (NGO) and research institutions across Indonesia, including the national Disease Investigation Centre (DIC) network, by building capability and expertise in disease detection, risk assessment and surveillance," she said.
The Fellows include key senior staff and younger veterinarians from a diverse range of geographical regions in Indonesia who are all members of the newly established Indonesian Veterinary Epidemiology Association (IVEA).
"It is very beneficial for all of us to be traveling around NSW together as we are all from different institutions and it helps build a strong network of veterinary epidemiologists across Indonesia," said Dr Agung from the DIC in Denpasar.
"A strong network is the key component to ensure the ongoing implementation of the approaches we are learning about here with the University of Sydney," he said.