Better understanding of the multi-level reality of people’s lives in the local context, and the associated implications for the implementation of control interventions, is critical for achieving control of disease transmission.
Controlling animal diseases is critical for reducing rural poverty and increasing household livelihood resilience in many contexts. For many recurring diseases threatening the livelihoods of poor people, the epidemiology is well known. Despite this, effective control is not achieved. It is clear that veterinary or medical knowledge alone is not sufficient to achieve disease control and that understanding local sociocultural, economic and political dimensions is equally important. Integration of social sciences into epidemiology has so far been limited and social science competence also remains at the periphery of disease outbreak management.
The importance of community involvement, and the need for full integration of social sciences in disease control was painfully evident in the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The understanding of how human behaviour drove transmission of the disease, achieved through a multi-disciplinary, biosocial, bottom-up and community-centred approach and drawing on social science competence, was critical when the epidemic was eventually brought under control. The Ebola outbreak will be used as an example during the workshop.
This workshop will focus on how veterinary epidemiology and social science can cooperate for increased understanding of aspects other than factual knowledge that affect decisions relating to disease control.
The workshop aim is to develop new networks and share experiences on the integration between social sciences and veterinary research for improved understanding and action towards animal health in the Global South.