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Rolling out One Health Modules in the Philippines

Established in 2019, the Philippine One Health University Network (PhilOHUN), with the support from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Chevron, and Southeast Asia One Health University Network (SEAOHUN), has collaborated with multiple sectors to broaden interested individuals’ understanding of One Health approach and its application in the Philippines. In 2021, the College of Public Health of the University of the Philippines developed the first-ever course on One Health in the Philippines. In 2022, five PhilOHUN member universities adapted the course by translating known concepts and applications of One Health into lessons, imbued with the academic and professional experiences that come with working in the local setting.

The six adapted modules cover various topics, such as public health and epidemiology, infectious diseases, the One Health approach itself, and a unique perspective into public health leadership through the lens of the Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. These modules add to the Philippines’ increasing collection of learning materials on One Health.

Faculty members who were part of the module adaptation process expressed their belief in the importance of integrating One Health in health sciences education.

“There is no single and effective way to prevent, control, and mitigate the effects of infectious diseases both in humans and animals. It should be inclusive, multidisciplinary, and multi-agency, taking into consideration the roles of the agent, host, and environment in the spread/transmission and or eradication of diseases.”Dr. Fe Bulao (Pampanga State Agricultural University), lead of the module adaptation team for the Infectious Diseases Management module

"Introducing One Health to pre-service and in-service professionals would allow for better understanding of how the interaction and collaboration among specialists can facilitate innovative approaches to improve health. The recent advances in IT solutions can bring focus on data analysis and better understanding of their implications. Our module did exactly just that." – Dr. Michael Tee (University of the Philippines Manila), lead of the module adaptation team for The One Health Approach module

The modules were also seen as useful tools to prepare future members of the One Health workforce to understand and create solutions for multifaceted health issues and concerns.

"The integration of One Health approach to epidemiology and risk analysis is a very important strategy to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment. This integrated and unifying approach include multisectoral (relevant sectors working together), multidisciplinary (professionals from various fields), multi targets (health for people, animals, and environment) and multilevel (collaborations at local, national or global levels) strategies. The module on epidemiology and risk analysis is highly important in preparing the next generation of skillful One Health workforce to minimize the impact of transboundary and emerging zoonotic diseases or any future pandemic threats.” - Dr. Romeo Gundran (Central Luzon State University), lead of the module adaptation team for the Fundamentals of Public Health and the Epidemiology and Risk Analysis modules

"The Fundamentals of Infectious Diseases module promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and provides a comprehensive understanding of the connections between infectious diseases, human and animal health, and the environment, to prepare healthcare practitioners and students to address complex health issues holistically and collaboratively." – Asst. Prof. John Daniel Ong (University of the Philippines Los Banos), lead of the module adaptation team for the Fundamentals of Infectious Diseases module

For Dr. Kristina Almonte and Prof. Napoleon Almonte, acknowledging the value of learning from the past and from key role models can be an effective teaching approach. According to them, Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, was a genius in many respects: an artist, polyglot, sportsman, naturalist, a physician-ophthalmologist, and a teacher. But despite his many talents and skills, he was not thought of as a public health leader. Upon dissecting his life and writings, it can also be said that Dr. Rizal himself was a One Health practitioner. Utilizing not only his medical and scientific knowledge, but also his skills in communication, collaboration, and coordination, he was able to implement prevention strategies for common infectious diseases at the time, such as malaria and the flu. The module explores these ideas and presents a framework for public health leadership based on Dr. Rizal’s good practices as a community physician, as well as a case of practicing the One Health approach in the local setting.

"As a public health practitioner more than a hundred years ago, Dr. Jose Rizal had a keen awareness of the connection between people, environment, and animals. His leadership qualities are valuable and serve as relevant lessons for the 21st century public health practices." – Dr. Kristina Almonte (West Visayas State University), co-lead of the module adaptation team for the Dr. Jose Rizal as Model for Public Health Leadership module

The six adapted modules were piloted among university students, educators, and professionals in One Health-related fields through a webinar last 1–3 September 2022. The post-training assessment, published here, revealed improved scores in the awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and practices domains, showing that the modules have the potential to effectively educate students and professionals alike on One Health.

As the One Health movement continues to grow across Southeast Asia, PhilOHUN will continue to strive to provide socially meaningful learning opportunities for the country’s present and succeeding generations of the One Health workforce.


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