Updated: Jul 7
Applying One Health Approach to Address Community Health Issues
The Lawa Model, developed by the Tropical Diseases Research Center (TDRC) of Khon Kaen University, has achieved remarkable success in reducing Opisthorchis viverrini infection and bile duct cancer at the Lawa Lake community in Northeast Thailand. This innovative model, based on the EcoHealth/One Health approach, considers human, animal, and environmental health perspectives to address the O. viverrini parasite. Its effectiveness has gained national, regional, and global recognition, leading the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region (WHO/WPRO) to recommend the One Health as an approach for foodborne trematodiasiscontrol.
Recognizing the significance of the Lawa Model, Chevron and the Southeast Asia One Health University Network (SEAOHUN) collaborated with TDRC to develop the Lawa Model Online Course. This online training program, launched in April 2023, aimed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills needed to apply the One Health approach in solving complex health problems. The course received an overwhelming response, attracting 234 participants from 40 countries across various disciplines. Ultimately, 114 participants successfully completed the course, and 23 exceptional individuals were chosen for the Lawa Model Field Trip held in Khon Kaen, Thailand, from May 31st to June 2nd, 2023.
The field trip was organized to provide hands-on experience in witnessing the Lawa Model in action. Participants from six Southeast Asian countries, plus India and Bangladesh, had the opportunity to visit Khon Kaen, Thailand, where they observed community health initiatives, educational integration, animal surveillance programs, and environmental modifications aimed at reducing the prevalence of the liver fluke parasite. This field trip allowed participants to apply their learnings from the online course and gain valuable insights into community health issues.
Participants provided positive feedback on their experience, highlighting the well-rounded nature of the program, from the online module to the field visit. They appreciated the opportunity for intercountry networking and expressed their satisfaction in witnessing the Lawa Model's successful implementation in the field. Participants commended the approach of working closely with the community, emphasizing the importance of assessing and improvising to address challenges effectively.
"An amazing experience that provided a better understanding of the applicability of the core components of One Health on the ground."
"The experience was well thought of. Starting with the online module to sensitize us on concepts and the project. The field visit was the highlight, allowing us to witness the successful implementation of all the efforts in action. Additionally, the opportunity for intercountry networking was an added benefit."
“It was a superb experience that we the ASEAN countries have the same one goal,
one health approach for the better future!”
"Very enlightening experience, able to see the successful story of Lawa Model with my own eyes. Understand better the strategies, implementation, issues and challenges in the field."
"It was an impressive and immersive experience witnessing the successful application of the One Health approach. The field trip allowed me to appreciate the Lawa Model even more and recognize the significance of a multisectoral, multidisciplinary approach. The lesson of 'working by heart' stood out, not just among the experts but also at the community level."
The Lawa Model's success can be attributed to its emphasis on systems thinking in One Health and its strong collaboration with community members affected by the disease. It serves as an exemplary and sustainable disease control effort that can be applied to various challenges. The TDRC, Chevron, and SEAOHUN share a common goal of nurturing future One Health leaders who can contribute meaningfully to the well-being of humans, animals, and the environment. Their collective efforts aim to inspire and cultivate a new generation of health professionals dedicated to the holistic approach of One Health, ensuring a better future for all.