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Jane

Jane Hall

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: New South Wales Animals > General
To improve Australia's capacity to manage wildlife disease incidents - South Africa, UK, Canada, USA
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My fellowship was undertaken between May – July 2017 where I visited 23 organisations across South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America. During this time, I met with numerous professionals spanning the entire extent of wildlife disease investigations, from the team in the field collecting surveillance data and conducting research, to mangers working with policy makers to implement further recognition of the importance of this work within the wider One Health philosophy; a globally accepted framework that recognises that human health, animal health and environmental health are inextricably linked.

My main aim was to explore ways in which the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health and the wider Australian wildlife health community could strengthen, concentrate, or explore avenues to maximise mitigation strategies for wildlife disease events.

A combination of structured interviews, job shadowing, tours, and ‘chats’ were used to reach this objective. As each organisation employs a different strategy depending on financial and political constraints, immersion into each program was a useful tool to determine how programs truly operated, which is often very different to the polished public persona of any organisation.

I was also fortunate to have timed my visit to be able to attend the Great Britain Wildlife Disease Surveillance & Garden Wildlife Health Project Annual Meeting, and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative’s internal meeting on Wildlife Health Intelligence Platforms, Annual General Meeting, Annual Regional Update, and Annual Workshop.

The purpose of this report is to explore the key differences between the international programs I visited, and those of the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health and wider Australian wildlife health sector where appropriate, and determine where we can improve what it is that we do. Some of these ideas will require development and testing prior to implementation, but they will at the very least, cause reflection about current practices and open avenues for adoption in the future.

During the course of my fellowship, I tried to identify at least one take-home message from each organisation/country visited. Many of the themes overlapped between organisations and countries, further concreting these ideas as important to explore further. Themes include:

  • BioBanking (tissue bank)
  • Robust data collection including observational data
  • Data in data out – surveillance is nothing if it isn’t reported
  • Funding, investment, and future proofing 

 

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