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CAB Reviews

A reviews journal covering agriculture, global health, nutrition, natural resources and veterinary science

CAB Review

Effective animal health programming requires consideration of and communication with those at the human-animal interface.

Abstract

Since the advent of agricultural support services, animal health programming has most often appeared as a linear and top-down activity with information and resources flowing from educated, official senders or communicators (the 'haves') to ignorant, passive recipients (the 'have nots') who work and live with animals. The lack of consideration for the experience and perception of those at the animal-human interface can negatively impact the efficacy of animal health programming. In development practice generally, and more recently in the veterinary field, the importance of open communication and participation with programme participants has been identified as integral to success. This paper reviews recent and extensive programming for rinderpest and highly pathogenic avian influenza to identify how participatory tools and approaches have been used and adapted for disease surveillance and response. In emphasizing the role that communication and local peoples' knowledge and experiences can play in shaping animal health programming, this paper contends that participatory methods can help promote both animal and human health. The success of future programming however will require greater interdisciplinary collaboration and communication, along with the integration and validation of multiple sources of evidence and knowledge. This can contribute to the development of adequate strategies for risk reduction and efficient incentives for the adoption of risk reduction guidelines.