12 February 2013 - The CMS Secretariat was represented
at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) which took
place in Bangkok (Thailand) from 28th January to 2nd February
2013. The topic of the Conference was “A World United
Against Infectious Diseases: Cross Sectoral Solutions”.
Prince Mahidol was the father of the current
King of Thailand, Rama IX. A doctor by training, he is regarded
as the father of modern medicine and public health in Thailand.
He created a programme of scholarships to allow Thai medical
students to travel abroad for training. In commemoration
of the centenary of his birth, the Prince Mahidol Award
was created in 1992.
The Conference was co-organized by the
Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, the World Health Organization
(WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health
(OIE), Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance
(CORDS), One Health Congress, the US Agency for International
Development (USAID), the Rockefeller Foundation, the Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the British
Medical Journal (BMJ).
The main aim of PMAC was to highlight
how infectious diseases continue to threaten the well-being
of the world, and the opportunity we have to counter these
threats more successfully in the future through a more strategic
approach to global health preparedness. The continuing threat
from infections such as avian influenza H5N1, rabies or
Ebola virus, has raised awareness of the global interdependence
of human health, animal health and the need for more systematic
and cross-sectoral approaches to identifying and responding
to global public health emergencies and other health threats
arising at the human-animal-ecosystems interface.
As part of the Conference events a meeting
of the CMS/FAO Task Force on Wildlife and Ecosystem Health
took place on the 29th January, as well as a MEA coordination
meeting which was attended by representatives of CBD, CITES,
CMS and the Ramsar Convention.
During a specific panel session on Ecosystems
and Wildlife, the close relationship between biodiversity
conservation and the spread of new diseases was highlighted,
especially the fact that land-use changes and habitat fragmentation
are the main factors responsible of the emergence of new
infectious diseases, a situation that can be further exacerbated
by climate change. The session provided the opportunity
for the biomedical One Health community to share with ecologists
and the natural resource community, how their contributions
can significantly improve efforts to address infectious
disease management and prevention. A shift in paradigm is
necessary for true implementation of cross-sectoral approaches
to strengthening systems at the international, regional
and national level.