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Why One Health Matters?

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

The Balak villagers learned how to reduce the risk of human diseases by proper livestock waste managing

On November 8, 2020, students from the University of Gadjah Mada in Indonesia conducted a one-day educational program for the villagers in Balak, located about 30 km away from Yogyakarta, provincial capital on the island of Java. This area is popular among tourists for its scenic views and lush greenery. The nature is generous, and the plantations are rich. Balak village with about 300 inhabitants has good pool of human resources, including farmers, cattle men, and planters. The village also has a wide range of domestic animals, but the waste was not managed properly, thus putting humans at risk of diseases and negatively impacting the environment.

The students invited university lecturers and experts to increase the villagers’ awareness on One Health concept and introduce better techniques for livestock’s waste management.

Having previously won the second place in SEAOHUN’s COVID-19 Digital Awareness Challenge, the students utilized their award towards this activity on raising One Health awareness in the Balak village.

“One Health is an important concept that is now rapidly spreading around the world", says Savana Annisa Rahmah, the award-winning team’s leader. “This concept encourages people to think of their health as closely connected with the environmental and animal health. Unfortunately, knowledge spreads much slower in rural areas than in cities. Therefore, we decided to use the award funds from winning the regional competition to close this gap in one of the villages.”

Hands-on approach to One Health

The workshop included lectures on improvement of human, animals and environmental health, and a hands-on part, during which the villagers worked together with the students and experts in the field to put knowledge in practice. There were two sessions: the morning session was attended by 21 villagers, 16 people participated in the afternoon. The villagers demonstrated enthusiasm and they would welcome any follow up activities. The students testified that this small project helped them to learn how to implement One Health concepts in real life.

Mr. Satyaguna (Lecturer) “There is still lack of concern in the processing of livestock waste. This can be fatal for people’s health. In this event we taught villagers how to process organic fertilizer from livestock waste. The processed waste is safer, and it can be used by the villagers in their farming. We hope that this event will result in sustained sanitation and reducing the probability of disease caused by the livestock activities."

Mr. Arifin (Head of The Village): “There was a very good interaction between the attendants and the speakers, the villagers were very enthusiastic. I hope that we will be able to sustain the knowledge and that these sorts of activities will continue in the future”

This small grant project activity was organized within the One Health Workforce – Next Generation project supported by the USAID, and all national and WHO recommendations on COVID-19 safety measures were followed during its undertaking.

- Personal protective equipment, distancing, and group size standards in this photo were consistent with local public health guidance and COVID-19 status in the specific country and time it was taken. This may not reflect best practices for all locations where COVID-19 is still spreading. -


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