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Wildlife Conservation Society and Global Health Advocacy Incubator launch new partnership to prevent zoonotic disease

The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) is pleased to announce a new partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to prevent future major viral outbreaks. This partnership will accelerate the adoption and enforcement of laws and policies to end the commercial trade and consumption of wild birds and mammals.

WCS and GHAI’s partnership will focus on Indonesia and Vietnam, two countries which are making important strides toward protecting their populations from zoonoses, diseases the spread from animals to people.

At least three quarters of emerging infectious diseases in humans have an animal origin. Existing laws, regulations and treaties play an important role in meeting the threat of zoonotic disease, but are often insufficient. In many cases, new and updated laws and policies are required. Where these have already been adopted, they often suffer from inadequate enforcement and lack of popular awareness and acceptance.

One of the best hopes for preventing new pandemics is the “One Health” approach, which unites human, animal and environmental health. However, preventing the transmission of pathogens from wild animals to humans is usually not a political priority. Public health advocacy, informed by WCS’ global expertise, can help to change that.

“This project is a perfect fit for the Global Health Advocacy Incubator and our mission of changing policy to save lives,” Daniel McGoldrick, vice president at GHAI, said. “We build support for public investments in epidemic preparedness as a partner of the Resolve to Save Lives initiative. In Indonesia and Vietnam, we are working on a range of public health priorities with the governments and nongovernmental organizations. WCS’ deep background and expertise in conservation will allow us to tackle this urgent but under-addressed issue.”

Researchers in Indonesia have been drawing greater attention to zoonoses during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a rationale for stronger regulation and enforcement. In Vietnam, the government is leading development of a successor plan to the new Viet Nam One Health Partnership for Zoonotic Diseases phase 2021- 2025, which sets out its intentions and targets for reducing public health risks.

“At GHAI, we recognize that public health successes are built on evidence-based policies,” McGoldrick said. “Policies on the commercial trade and consumption of wild birds and mammals can have a far-reaching impact.”

The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) supports local partners in advancing public health policies to build a healthier and safer world. GHAI provides partners with direct, systematic, ongoing technical assistance and capacity-strengthening support to deliver health policy wins on a variety of issues in countries around the world, in a variety of government systems.